As much as it galls me to admit this, it has been 25 years since I walked out of my high school gates for the very last time — tears streaming down my face. This June, several former classmates have arranged a reunion for the 270 of us who were the class of ’91.
Unlike a lot of people I know, I loved high school. Being an only child of divorced parents, my classmates became more than just friends — they became family. Twenty-five years later, I’m still in touch with many of those school friends and count them as the best friends of my life. Some of us gathered only three weeks ago when a friend was visiting from Australia — some coming from across the water in Ireland, some from Scotland — all to just catch up for one night.
So of the 270 people in my class, I see those I love as regularly as I can.
This is why I can’t decide whether I should actually go to the reunion come June. I mean, if I haven’t seen you in 25 years, why bother now?
Yet nostalgia beats at the door and I find myself intrigued by how everyone turned out. Which brings me to my next question: Will this reunion simply be an endless speed date of “What do you do? Are you married? Do you have any kids?”? You know, all the questions we fall back on to make small talk and size up how “successful” people are. I hate this, because obviously everyone has their own definition of success. What matters to one person might not matter to another. For the record, I’d warrant success is anyone who is happy regardless of their job, family, wealth, and marital status.
Or will everyone put on their social media faces, and show their “Facebook” life as opposed to their real one, essentially making it one big charade? Or will it turn into a competition to see who’s changed the most? The “class dork” now owns a private jet! The “hot girl” is in need of some Botox.
The thing is, I was friendly with most of my classmates at school, and I feel I have absolutely nothing to prove. I don’t need to go and “show everyone” that my life is a pretty happy one, the way someone who felt bullied or ignored might. Besides, many classmates have found my blog so they practically know everything about my life anyways; it’s not like I’m going to turn up the swan risen from the ugly duckling. (Although my teeth are in better shape thanks to veneers.)
Of course it would be a wonderful trip down memory lane, but do I really want to go back there? I had fairly difficult teen years due to my parents being divorced and my mom breaking up with her new partner. I had keys to three different houses in high school, and it was far from easy. Will seeing all of my former classmates bring back those hard times with my family?
I’m also torn about going because most of my close girlfriends can’t attend. Will I end up in a corner with the two friends I see all the time anyways, wondering why I spent all that cash on a plane ticket to Ireland?
Part of me is keen to go purely because it connects me to my school, and gives me a chance to see people I lost touch with, but had a laugh with in tedious chemistry classes or bonded with in art class. It gives me a chance to remember a place that is so dear to me — a place that in many ways saved me from the lonely life of a divorce kid.
I guess what I keep wondering is if I don’t go, will I regret it forever? Even after writing all of this, I still can’t decide.
Would you go to your 25-year high school reunion?
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