High school reunions are like colonoscopies. Everyone should go to one, but when it’s over, and you realize things are fine, you don’t really want to go to another one.
I graduated high school on a warm May day in 1987. The hair was amazingly large and I wore panty hose. There was no remorse on that day, not in the hair nor the panty hose, nor in the fact that I was leaving high school. Sure, I had some good times, but I just felt no real desire to hang around there any longer.
When the ten year class reunion took place, I was in no mood to attend. I had a six and a two-year old, a crappy marriage, no college degree, a dead-end job, and 20 lbs. of baby weight. I’m certain that’s exactly how I would have been introduced in the “Where Are They Now?” feature of the program. When the 20 year class reunion took place, I was in a different yet similar situation. My six and two year-olds were now sixteen and twelve year-olds (since potty trained but nonetheless time-consuming) and instead of a crappy marriage, I had a crappy divorce. Still no college degree, although I was working my ass off for it. My 20 lbs. of baby weight had turned into 60 lbs. of honey-nut cream cheese weight, thanks to late night binges of depressive snacking. I could not, would not, give anyone the satisfaction of seeing me like that. I didn’t even want the satisfaction of seeing me like that, and I’m quite catty.
It was around that same time that I decided to get my shit together. I’d like to be able, for the purpose of literary cohesiveness, to say that the missed reunion sparked a change in my life. Alas, it was high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, obesity, and the knowledge of impending doom that did that. There were other things, too, emotional things like bottoming out in the self-esteem department.
For a multitude of reasons, I changed my lifestyle and began to look and feel much better, and by 2009, when an “all-school reunion” took place, I decided to go. Timing was of the essence – I felt emboldened by the fact that I had just gotten out of a(nother) destructive relationship, and I was ready to face the world, or at least some of the 71 other people with whom I graduated high school.
I saw many people I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. Everyone was in “Oh yeah, I remember you!” mode, even though they were looking at my name tag, desperately trying to place me. It was rather like high school, in that I spent time with the people I knew and I didn’t with the people I didn’t. Friends were still friends, and jerks were still jerks, that certainly hadn’t changed. The world of social media had taken all the fun out of “Gee, I wonder what so-and-so looks like now,” so basically, that reduced the evening to small talk and watching people drink too much.
Now, five years later, another all-school reunion is taking place. Again I have been invited, but I’m again not attending. This time, it isn’t a matter of lacking self-confidence. I am in a good place – I have a great marriage, I am at a very comfortable weight (enough running to balance out the occasional pan of brownies), and I have attained my college degree and a great job. If the reunion people would like to place that on the “Where Are They Now?” handout, they are welcomed. In fact, they can just post my facebook address, and whomever is interested can view me there. No, this time I am declining simply because I have been there, done that, and if I want to engage in small talk and watch drunk people, I’ll go to Walmart.