So as I mentioned on Monday, I attended my high school reunion this past weekend. I have been hovering at Facebook ever since, watching as people post new photos, chatting with folks about Saturday’s party, and continuing to reminisce because it’s fun and I’m not quite ready to be finished! My inability to refocus actually inspired me to share five of the things I learned at my reunion:

1. People change. Not just gray haired or bald, but grown-up and mature. You might have thought nothing would ever make the class nerd a cool person, but a reunion will prove otherwise. People grow and learn and become something you never expected. It’s amazing to see.

2. People stay the same. The partyers may still be partying hearty. The slackers may not show up. The quiet ones may sit in the corner. Some things never change. But maybe the class nerd was always really cool and you never noticed. The passage of time helps you see the things about people that were there all along. Also amazing.

3. It’s good to mingle. I can’t believe how many times since Saturday I’ve said, “I wish I’d gotten a chance to talk with you.” What’s sad is that it was my own fault. I’m bad with crowds, I think. It’s too loud, too much alcohol, too smoky, I claim. I don’t know them well enough, they won’t remember me, what if they didn’t like me? Whatev. Some of my classmates are savvy about working a room: they know how to talk with anyone, anywhere, about anything, and feel comfortable. They know how to mingle, and they got the most out of Saturday’s event. It’s good to mingle. I need to practice.

4. I need a better elevator speech. You know, the 30 second what-do-you-do-and-why-should-I-care speech. “I make lip balm and blah-de-blah” isn’t really cutting it, and it’s kind of embarrassing. Which is crazy, because I love my job. Think about how much easier #3 would be if I had a presentable elevator speech?

5. It’s good to stop and take stock now and again. Stepping away from my work and my life is hard because I enjoy it so much, but you don’t see it complete unless you’re on the outside. How great is it to realize that through planning or hard work or just dumb luck, you are exactly where you should be and doing what you want to do? And how sad would it be to miss areas that need improvement because you’re not looking with an objective eye? Stepping away from the control panel even briefly gives valuable perspective.

I may be about ready to let this go and move on until the 30th reunion, but I’m so glad I went and saw old friends (and learned these 5 things…and a bunch more, besides). Do you have a reunion this summer? Are you planning to go? Are you looking forward to it? What do you expect to learn from the experience? Please share your thoughts and comments!