Laura on Life


By Laura Snyder

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[April 21, 2010]  Reunions with people you haven't seen in a long time are sometimes painful. If you'd had time to prepare for the reunion, you might have been able to minimize the damage by doing a few extra laps on the treadmill and getting your hair styled.

However, some reunions are unplanned. On a random street corner or a coffee shop, you might see someone you knew 20 years ago. It is almost certain that these unplanned reunions will happen the day before your scheduled hair coloring. Your partial is probably in the shop for repair, and you decided to wear a big floppy sweatshirt to cover your big floppy chest because you had acid reflux that morning and a bra would've simply exacerbated the condition.

Of course, you could always look at the bright side and realize that you just made someone you haven't seen in 20 years feel pretty darn good about herself. After all, she had just been to the salon and had a facial, a mani-pedi, and her eyebrows waxed as a reward for losing 10 pounds. Sure, she probably lost it after a nasty bout of stomach flu, but the method wasn't the important thing. The result justified the reward. The point is, you made her feel like a million bucks because you looked like a limp dishrag.

Your appearance in public, looking like a bag lady, could be seen as a charitable act, if you weren't so mortified by the chance meeting. Your halo could probably use some buffing up and, in my opinion, this would be considered a good deed even if it was unplanned.

Even some reunions that are planned have some unexpected consequences. My husband's 30th high school reunion was last year. He couldn't attend, but he found a website that posted pictures of his former classmates who were able to attend.

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The first thing he said to me while viewing the pictures was: "Who are these people? The men are all short, fat, bald guys. They all look like my old history teacher. And... good lord... look at the women..."

"If you love me even a little," I said tartly, "You will not tell me what the women my age look like."

Unfortunately, I did peek at the monitor and, truthfully, they all looked like 30 miles of bad road, caked in makeup and squeezed into a dress a size too small for them. I saw myself through their eyes and wondered if my husband would soon trade in my 40-something-year-old carcass for two 20s.

Family reunions are even more painful. These are people you have known for years. They are like comfort food. When you feel bad, you know you can count on your family to be there to tell you what an idiot you are to feel so bad. You know them and all their foibles. You sadly recognize the ones who won't be with us much longer, and you also identify the ones you'll most likely be playing bridge with in an old folks home one day, comforted by their presence.

Life is like playing dodge ball in gym class. Remember that great and awful feeling you got when you realized that you were the only target left? You were ecstatic that you didn't get hit, but it was awful that so many of your teammates did.


Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author and speaker. You can reach her at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com or visit www.lauraonlife.com for more info.


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