I will be attending my ten year high school reunion next month, even though I have just as many insecurities about it as anyone: I don’t make much money, my neck has gained ten pounds, and I haven’t been happy with my body since that fateful day in 2006 when I got stuck in a pair of spandex jeans in a dressing room, resulting in a meltdown that ended with me wailing at top volume “BUT I’VE ALWAYS BEEN A SIZE SEVEN!”
Still, I wouldn’t miss it. I’ve been looking forward to this reunion for the past fourteen years, which shouldn’t be surprising given that my high school voted me Most Likely to Feel Nostalgic For an Experience That Hasn’t Even Happened Yet. (Okay, that wasn’t actually a thing. But if it was, I would have been a shoo-in.)
^Rocking the marching band plumes and ice water cups with my BFF, Noemi.
But as I’ve been asking around to find out who else is going, I’ve been getting a lot of this:
“Ugh, no, I have absolutely no desire to go to that.”
“Why would I care about a dumb reunion?”
“I don’t want to waste a whole night with people I don’t care about.”
Geez! Who knew people were so prickly about reunions? It’s as though I’m asking if they’d like to ride with me for thirty hours on a bus filled with heroin addicts and an overwhelming stench of pee.
That attitude doesn’t make much sense to me, and maybe feels a bit overly defensive? Like, if you truly didn’t care about high school, would you have such a negative reaction at the thought of just going to a party? No one is asking you to re-enroll.
Also, if anything, that attitude itself seems a bit high school to me. Like, by saying you’re too cool to care about the reunion you’re implying that I’m less cool if I do care. It’s uncomfortably reminiscent of the time that Rachel Kruvand, who got me hooked on the Muppet Babies and always watched it with me after morning kindergarten class, abruptly announced one day that she was too old to continue watching the Muppet Babies. (This cold-hearted betrayal happened to me in either first or eleventh grade—I’ll let you decide which.)
But you know what? I do care, and I’ll proudly own that. My high school classmates are the people who comprised my main social world for anywhere from four to thirteen extremely formative years, whether I liked them all or not. So wouldn’t it be kind of weird/borderline sociopathic to not care about that, at least a little?
There are plenty of reasons to go to a high school reunion.
It’s a very specific opportunity to reflect on your life—where you’ve been, why you are the way you are, how you’ve changed and grown—and opportunities for self-reflection almost always end up being positive experiences that we’re better off for embracing.
Also, I think it’s nice to acknowledge and stay in touch with where we come from. For better or worse, nothing determines our life course more than the circumstances in which we happened to grow up, and the people you grew up with will probably relate to your worldview more than most people you ever meet. So while it’s so important to go out in the world and expand your horizons, I think it’s also really refreshing to surround yourself, from time to time, with people who just feel like home.
Lastly, I’m all for unique and bizarre experiences (ESSENTIAL to a writer), and what’s more unique or bizarre than walking into a room full of people whose names fill four plus years’ worth of your diary entries, but who you now haven’t seen or spoken to in ten years? That’s bound to bring about some unusual feelings and interactions, and in a world full of predictability, I will gladly welcome an unusual experience.
I mean, my life is filled with all kinds of adult bullshit: pointless staff meetings, laborious waits at the post office, complicated insurance phone calls that eat up entire weeks of my existence, etc. My time truly is not so valuable that I won’t gladly spare one night per decade to kick back and have drinks with the only people in the world who can answer in the affirmative when I ask, “Remember that time the cheerleader did a backflip into the wall and had to be rushed to the ER?”
So, that’s my defense of high school reunions.
My only major concern now is that, with so many people not going, what if it ends up just being me and the girl who pulled me behind a pillar in seventh grade to tell me that all my friends were only pretending to like me? WHAT IF IT HAPPENS AGAIN?!
I mean, it’s fine.
I’m over it…
I’m like, an adult now.
Really, it’s fine.