I’d like to give everybody a little unsolicited advice: get over high school and go to your reunion.
First, let me start by telling you who I think I was in high school. I was a weird mix of confident and extremely insecure. I had the confidence to run for student body president (against two of the most amazing people I know) but was a wallflower at the few parties I attended. I had enough pride to say no to a drunk friend one night because I didn’t want to be one of his many hook-ups, but never had the courage to approach any of my crushes. I had my core group of friends and we all had friends across the typical genres of high school – cheerleaders, band geeks, jocks, nerds, artists, and even some of the rebels; but I was intimidated by the “cool” kids I didn’t know personally. I was elected to the student senate twice and appointed once, but was never asked to a dance.
I have a lot of fond memories of those days, but they were not my Glory Days. There are a lot of things I would love to change or erase (going to prom alone because you’re on prom court and kinda had to be there is not nearly as fun as it sounds), but they were not my Horror Days either. They were simply my High School Days. Granted, it was an important part of my life as I bumbled through the process of growing up, but the heartaches and victories are now just blips in a much bigger picture. I have nothing to prove, and nothing to reclaim from those days. The good days, the bad days, and a lot of forgotten days, are tucked away safely in the past.
If you asked me last week how I felt about the reunion, I would have said (and in fact did say to more than one person): “There are some people I know will be there who I’m really excited to see, and there will probably be a bunch of people I don’t really care about.”
In writing and in retrospect, it sounds pretty bitchy. But this is why I’m giving you the unsolicited advice. While I had a lot of fun catching up and reminiscing with the friends who stood out in my memory, some of my best conversations were with those I hadn’t really thought about over the years. Some were casual acquaintances and some I didn’t know at all until we had the chance to chat at one of the events. And the most interesting of those conversations had nothing to do with high school. We talked about what we were doing now, and how we had gotten there, and how we met our significant others, and about kids, and about life in general.
If you can get over high school – if you’re not trying to relive or recover from those days – your reunion is not unlike any social gathering. Even the people you knew then can be different now, so it’s a chance to meet all new friends. You’ll just happen to be guaranteed one thing in common: you spent a few years of your lives within the same neighborhoods, the same classrooms, the same basic landscape.
So I say: good or bad, do your best to let it go. And then go make a new friend with an old connection. It’s worth it.