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Attending 40-year class reunion not on my “bucket list”

When a childhood friend asked if I were planning to attend our 40-year high school reunion this coming summer, I immediately responded, “Hell, no, I won’t go.”  Just thinking about it brought back feelings of being on the outside looking in.

Although I had a close circle of friends in high school, we weren’t part of the “in” crowd, nor any other group for that matter. We kept to ourselves, mostly playing Scrabble on my bedroom floor. Is it any wonder the popular girls didn’t seek us out?

“Aren’t you curious what became of this one or that?” my friend asked. Not really. I had to flip through my yearbook to put faces with the names of people who once loomed larger than life for me. I wondered how many of them, like me, have gained too much weight, lost too much hair, and have bodies in a state of perpetual motion.

Is this the real reason I am so adamant about not wanting to attend my class reunion? Am I embarrassed to have my former classmates see me “shake, rattle, and roll?” Admittedly, there was a time when this was true, but no longer. Their emotional hold on me ended the day I decided I have nothing to prove to them anymore and no need for their acceptance.

Gazing into the eyes of a very young me in my yearbook photo, I see a burning desire to change the world, and hear myself repeating the quote below my photo: “No one can rob us of the future.” The possibility that chronic illness could, never occurred to me, until I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 44.


Sheryl in 1971





Sheryl with open yearbook

That was 12 years ago, however, and I continue fighting back with everything I have to keep this disease from getting the best of me. Co-founding pdplan4life.com with my long distance friend, Jean Burns, has given new purpose to my life that is more rewarding and far reaching than anything I ever dreamed I’d do. Inspiring PWP everywhere to live well with Parkinson’s, we are changing the world one person at a time. Your emails affirm our success and our belief that we get back far more than we give.

Still, there is no forgetting that I live with a progressive, incurable disease. Not a day goes by that I am not aware of the fleeting nature of good health and the fragility of life. Knowing some of my former classmates already have passed away, I am grateful that I still have the opportunity to decide whether or not to attend my high school reunion… but not so grateful that it makes my “bucket list.”

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blogger partner WPC 2016 in Portland