Bornholm, late summer 2021

184. My 25 year high school reunion is tonight — so I’m self-referencing what I wrote about my 20th five years ago!

Claus Raasted
7 min readJun 10, 2023


The title is important. It’s there to make sure there is no doubt that this is a personal post about personal thoughts.

This isn’t a teaching post. It isn’t an industry post. It’s not even really a thought piece. It’s just me, thinking aloud and deciding to make my thoughts publicly available, in case anybody should care.

And if no one does, that’s perfectly fine. :-)

Five years ago, I wrote about my high school reunion

Today, I re-read that post, and it made me think a bit.

Unsurprising, most would say!

But one thing it made very clear to me was that while it’s easy to look at long periods of time (and for me, 20 years at the time was more than half my life!) and notice broad trends and interesting developments.

That was why that post made sense to me five years ago.


Now, it would feel quite silly to write “25 years after high school: 25 things that turned out differently than expected”, since quite a few of them would be the same as they were five years ago.

#16 was “I started drinking”. Hard to do that twice, right? At least when we’re talking casually drinking — just so it’s clear that’s what was meant there! :-)

So would it make any sense to write anything like that this time around?

Well, yes and no.

Because, as I looked at that list from five years ago, it became clear to me that my original assumption — that a lot would be the same — just wasn’t true.

And that made me smile — even if some of those things wouldn’t have made me smile back then if I’d known they would happen. Because even the things that have happened since that have been painful? Many of them have led to something good, and some of them have led to growth and gratitude in a way I couldn’t have foreseen.

To me, that is worth celebrating, and it’s worth remembering.

When I was 19 and finished high school, 43 (and turning 44 in nine days) seemed almost impossibly far away — and the idea that the years between 38 and 43 could be just as much of a rollercoaster as those between 19 and 24 seemed counter-intuitive.

After all, we talk about formative years, and when I was young, nobody mentioned 38 to 43 being part particularly “formative”.

And that’s why can’t wipe the smile off my face as I write this, even though I’m nostalgic as hell going to this reunion. Because if my last five years have been anything, they have been formative, and I have a feeling that the next five will be formative as well.

I guess that’s a dream that crystalized in this very moment. To be able to keep being formed by life and to always be in my formative years — whatever that may look like!

And so, with that rather long intro now taken care of, I want to present to you (probably few!) who are still reading along; 25 things that changed from my 20th reunion to my 25th, including quite a few from the old list!

#1. I still didn’t get a Master’s Degree. I’ve taught at quite a few universities in the last five years, though, so it’s come full circle anyway!

#2. I’m no longer married. I was happily married for nearly a decade, but in late 2018, Marie and I got divorced. We’re still very close, though.

#3. I’m no longer in an open relationship. Siv made monogamy a condition, and I adjusted. I wasn’t sure it would work, but it really does.

#4. I still am not a high school teacher. But one of my companies focuses on teaching support for business schools, so it’s oddly close.

#5. I’m still an entrepreneur! That isn’t changing, but the work I do has changed a lot in the last five years. To put it mildly!

#6. I’m not a professional larper any more. That dream died on March 5th, 2019, as my old company crashed in flames. Still love the form, though.

#7. I am no longer the CEO of an international company. I have stakes in several companies, both international and Danish, but no CEO role.

#8. I still have one child. Luckily, that hasn’t changed. Of course, she is very different now at 5 than she was at three months old! :-)

#9. 28 books have become 40. The newest one goes into print on Monday, in fact. And while 28 seemed like a lot, 40 just seems like the beginning.

#10. I work much less than I used to. I guess I’m still a workaholic at heart, but I am more in the 40–50 hour/week range than that 60–70+.

#11. I have reconsidered “grown-up” status. I’m no longer waiting for that adulthood feeling to kick in. I am now convinced it never will.

#12. I guess I’m still a former reality TV star. Ironically enough, our old TV show FC Zulu got a season 4 in 2020, and we got to play the new team!

#13. I’ve grown less extreme. It’s not that I conform more, but being a parent has softened some edges a bit — mostly out of need.

#14. I’ve stopped getting around. I enjoyed being in an open relationship for many years, but I also enjoy being in a closed one. Luckily!

#15. I’ve sadly grown more chubby. Five years ago I was solid. Now, I’m decidedly “burgomeisterly”, as a friend once said. C’est la vie.

#16. I have stopped drinking. Not entirely, but very close to it. Also, my general amount of partying has gone WAY down.

#17. I have almost lived abroad. Siv, Saga and I spent a year during the pandemic living on Bornholm. Still Denmark, yes, but almost not!

#18. I still feel good about my ears. From 19 to 38, that was a change. From 38 to 43, it would feel weird if that changed. But it’s on the list, so…

#19. I lived in a house for a year! We didn’t own it, technically, but for all practical purposes we did. And it was lovely. Miss it every day.

#20. Five years ago seems like a lifetime now. Of course, 25 years ago feels like a lifetime ago as well, but even five seems like a lot.

Those were the twenty from five years ago. A lot has changed since then. That’s why I’ve now added five extra things to the list, and they are all developments that have happened since 2018.

#21. I’m now massively in debt. In spring 2019, as the company died, I ended up with roughly 7.000.000 DKK in personal debt. Not pleasant.

#22. But I’ve now learned how to make money. Since then, I’ve reduced the debt by more than 2.500.000 DKK. Desperation is a powerful teacher.

#23. I cry a lot more than I used to, and am moved more often. Siv often teases me that I tear up at anything. She’s right. It’s a beautiful life.

#24. I’ve stopped trying to predict the future. I have no idea where I’ll be in five years. I just hope I’ll be happy and the people around me will be too!

#25. Most importantly, I really enjoy being in my 40’s. I’ve never been more comfortable being me, even though life isn’t always easy.

That was the list.

What isn’t there is something that hasn’t changed since I was 19, even though I’ve gotten a lot better at it over the years — the deeply rooted belief that it’s ok to be me, even if others think my way is silly/stupid/weird/etc.

That’s why I’ll round off this retrospective with a quote from a Linkedin recommendation that I am particularly happy about. It’s part of a longer text, but the meat of it is here:

On top, Claus is simply a kind, emphatic and humoristic person who dares to stand out in a crowd and to choose his own paths in life. When you team up with Claus you’ll get new perspectives and unlock new business opportunities, and you’ll be having fun. Enjoy!

I tried to be that when I was 19 (maybe apart from the business opportunities!). I did my best to be that at 38. Now, at nearly 44, and I thoroughly enjoy being the person that text speaks about.

And I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Happy anniversary indeed. :-)

Claus Raasted is an overpaid rockstar consultant with Viking roots and a big smile. He serves as the Director of the College of Extraordinary Experiences, is an External Advisor at McKinsey & Company and has 40 books to his name. He also has a past in reality TV, but these days, who hasn’t?



Claus Raasted

Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences & Author of 45 books