Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reunion? Have 25 Years Already Passed?

July 18, 2010I've never really understood why some people get so anxious or disdainful at the idea of attending their high school reunions. I mean, yes, I know the standard reasons people throw out about not wanting to go, but it's hard for me to wrap my mind around why some people are not just apathetic, but vehemently opposed to being back in the same room with people from their past. I'm not talking about people who can't get off of work, or who would have to travel such great distances that it would create a serious financial hardship, or those who have to take care of an ailing family member. I'm talking about the people who seem to get annoyed about the very idea of reuniting with classmates. So, why do people avoid these reunions?

1. I'm out of shape/I've gained weight/I've lost my hair.

Guess what? Most of us have. It's okay. It's to be expected. Anyone who thinks he is the only one who has been touched by Father Time is just a little delusional. Sure, there are those who can still fit into their cheerleader uniforms from 25 years ago, and those whose head of hair is even thicker than in high school, but realistically speaking, those really are the minority. And seriously, haven't most of us figured out that looks aren't everything by now?

2. I did everything I could to get OUT of high school. Why would I go back?

You realize you're not actually GOING back to high school, right? No homework, no detentions, no dress code rules, no English paper due tomorrow. There's probably going to be alcohol there, too, right out in the open instead of being clandestinely shared in the the bathrooms or out behind the football stadium. It's a social gathering with people you share a history and experience with. It's a party, people--enjoy it!

3. It's too expensive.

I kind of get this one--the economy has slid most of us backwards at least a little bit, if not a lot. But if you consider that dinner is included, and you know it's coming and can put a little aside every week or every month, it's something that might be worth splurging on. Even people who've hit hard times--ESPECIALLY people who have hit hard times-need to carve out ways to celebrate and find the fun in life. Of course you can find the fun without spending money, but I still think it's okay to have an excuse to dress up and go to a party.

4. I kept in contact with all the people I wanted to keep in touch with. I don't care about any of the rest of them.

I kept in touch with people I was particularly close with, too. That doesn't mean that there weren't some pretty sweet people that I lost touch with because I wasn't best friends with them. Why wouldn't I want to see those people and hear about what's been going on in their lives? These are people who orbited around our lives for the better part of four years--four pretty formative years--by virtue of geography, chance, and random class scheduling. And honestly, that's no different that the random people we find ourselves in contact with in our jobs and in our neighborhoods. It's really chance and geography that connects us with anyone outside our immediate circle of close friends. Just because there wasn't enough bond to attach certain people to my life in a permanent way doesn't mean that I don't wish them well--happiness and success, however they define that for themselves--and when I run into them at the grocery store, or in line at the movies, or at our high school reunion, it still brings back fond memories. I don't think that just because I've lost touch with someone, or even chosen not to keep in touch with them, that it means I wouldn't enjoy spending one evening getting to know them again.

5. I don't have time/I'm too busy.

We all have the same amount of time in our days, and we're all busy. We choose how we spend that time. If there are other things that top your priority list, so be it. That's perfectly fine. But at least own it. Everyone has time. Simply say that you choose to spend the time you have on other priorities in your life.

6. Most of those people we went to high school with were clique-ish or superficial or sophomoric. Some of them were even cruel or intentionally mean.

Yes. And no. There WERE clique-ish and sophomoric and superficial people in high school. That's because we were teenagers trying to figure it all out, and sometimes that doesn't look very pretty on your average fifteen year old. Under all that was usually someone just as insecure and unsure as all the rest of us--it just registered differently. Also, those cruel boys and mean girls stand out because they stood out then. Why? Because they were the exception. Most of us weren't the cruel boys and the mean girls. So why eliminate the opportunity to reconnect with some pretty good people as a result of the actions of a few people many, many years ago? Even beyond that, almost all of those sophomoric, superficial teenagers have grown up in the past twenty-five years, just like all the rest of us have. We are different people, with different life experiences and wisdom and vision and priorities. I think it's interesting to see how life's experiences have shaped the outlooks of those people who used to inhabit some of the same spaces I used to inhabit. Marriage, children, jobs, divorce, travel, death--these things all imprint themselves on us in unique ways, and at the same time connect us all. Life is growth and change, and that includes acknowledging that others change and grow as well. A reunion is just one more opportunity to meet new friends and acquaintances.

So, yes, you might run into that one girl who made your life miserable, or that one boy who broke your heart all those years ago. There even might be one or two there who appear to be in a suspended state of animation--the stereotypical football player whose arrested development never took him much beyond the metaphorical halls of high school. More likely, though, you'll find some pretty pleasant people who are genuinely happy to see you and who are just as ready to have a great evening as you are. And who knows? You might just make some new friends. It's a party, people--have a great time!

July 10, 2010--Our Multi-Year Clovis High School Class Reunion


  1. I went to my 20th and missed the 25th. But some of us have been reunited via facebook and get together occasionally. It's been so great to see those familiar faces. The cool part is that even if the meanies are still mean... the good people are still oh-so-good.

  2. Well said! Really wanted to be there. Just didn't work out. Cute pics!

  3. I kinda envy you the desire to do that, because I'm one of the people who will never go.