When I think about high school, I generally remember two things: my pre-engineering classes which included everything from designing cardboard chairs, egg shoes, and edible cars alongside my familiar, thoughtful, and kind of nerdy classmates. That’s the first thing.
And then, there’s colorguard. Colorguard try-outs. Colorguard practice. Colorguard gift bags. Colorguard competitions. Colorguard 4-5 days a week. I attended every single high school football game during my high school years thanks to marching band. I performed during every half time and 5th quarter performance. And I laughed a lot alongside other people who loved colorguard and marching band as much as I did. These were my people, and, sadly, I have not spoken to most of them in ten years.
I have plenty of good and valid reasons not to go to my 10 year high school reunion.
- It’s not convenient.
- I prefer to avoid awkward situations.
- The past is the past.
I know a lot of people – including my husband – who have elected to skip their high school reunions and I think that’s totally acceptable and often a pretty healthy decision. I’ve been considering what GOOD is going to come from subjecting myself to reliving memories that now mostly teeter somewhere between embarrassing and painful, and then it hit me.
High school reunions aren’t just about 18-year-old you. They’re about 28-year-old you standing on your high school turf with a little bit of life perspective. I’ve changed quite a bit in 10 years, but there’s something about reuniting with a younger version of yourself that’s good for you, in small doses, I think. My friend Kristen has completely transformed from a soft-spoken rule follower, to, well, someone who lives life. I love that. I feel like she is the truest, happiest version of herself now and I want other people to see that.
I can count the number of people who I’ve stayed in touch with from high school on my hands, and two of them are my family members.
I’m really, really, really, really grateful that these people are still in my life. But I don’t see hardly anyone as often as I’d like to.
I’m looking forward to hearing what my fellow Skyhawks are up to now. I’d love to catch up with friends who I lost touch with after we forgot to follow up on those college break “we should get together when you’re in town!” messages, and I’m looking forward to a chance to reconnect.
Life has carried us all in different directions, and I want to see how we act as a group now. Kinder? Less insecure? Simply grateful for an opportunity to catch up for a few hours?
High school reunions conjure all of these ridiculous ideas like wanting to look your best and impressing the jerks who were mean to you. I think everyone has different reasons for wanting or not wanting to attend, but I want to be intentional about how I approach this reunion. Mainly, I don’t want to use this as a measuring stick. We all started out in the same place, but this person is making so much more money now, or this person lives in such a cool city, or this person is married with the cutest little kids. Or this person is driving your dream car because she doesn’t have kids.
Please. The grass is always greener.
In the past 10 years, some people have gotten married and then divorced. Some people have walked away from horrible jobs and found something they love doing. Some people are feeling pretty good and others are just getting by. I’ve got some good things going in my life, and some challenges, too, but I’m not going to my reunion to focus on that. Truly, I want to go because I can. I want to watch a football game from the other side of things. And laugh. And, yes, reminisce a little.
If you’re on the fence about attending and maybe these messages are running through your head:
- What if I don’t recognize anyone?
- What if I see someone who I never wanted to see again?
- What if I get there and immediately want to leave?
I’d like to remind you that you CAN immediately leave if you choose to. That’s a totally valid option because you are not a student who needs a hall pass anymore – you are an empowered adult who can do whatever you want and if that means showing up to your high school reunion for five minutes and then bailing, you can do that. Go home. Go out for a drink. Go to Tropical Smoothie. You can do whatever you want.
Basically, I’m begging you to show up even if it’s just for a few minutes. It’s so easy to say, “We’ll get together another time!” … but there is no time like the present.
And even though some of the memories are unpleasant or painful, there is going to be something so sweet and nostalgic about driving up to LC Bird for a high school football game. I can’t wait to see that marching band! I’m going buy myself a hot chocolate and sing the fight song because if I don’t do it now, I probably never will again.