Last week I saw a play called Reunion at South Coast Rep. It was the story of three high school buddies who get together after their high school reunion and rehash the memories, hurts, and relationship dynamics that shaped them. It was a powerful play (local folks, check it out) and it got me thinking about how oddly emotional high school reunions can be.
My 20-year-reunion was this past summer. I was a class officer my senior year, which means I’m responsible for planning our reunions . . . which seems like an awfully big commitment for a teenager to make. Had I known at 17 that I was signing up for an awkward event planning gig for the rest of my life, I might have decided to join Chess Club instead. But alas, I take my responsibility seriously, and set about planning our reunion.
This time around was a bit easier than 10 years ago, with the advent of facebook making it much easier to communicate with everyone. At the same time, it made it a bit more difficult because everyone had a say in a public forum. It’s not easy trying to please everyone, and finding a spot that was affordable and agreeable to everyone was no small feat. By the time the reunion rolled around, I was so fed up with the whole thing that I felt like not even attending. And I actually did miss most of it. We were invited as a family on a cruise to the Caribbean that same weekend and I didn’t feel like I could pass it up . . . and I missed the first day of festivities. Our cruise ship landed on a Saturday morning and we disembarked in Miami and drove 5 hours to the family picnic portion of the reunion. We were a little haggard from the travel but I’m glad I went.
It’s so interesting to gather with people who knew you in this one stage of life. I feel so detached from who I was in high school, and yet it’s hard to separate that as you interact with your former peers. It seems easy to fall back into familiar roles. I was also not very self-aware in high school. I had no idea I was an introvert. I tried desperately to pretend that I was a bubbly extrovert, and then found myself frequently exhausted. The result is that I was terribly inconsistent, vacillating between being a social butterfly and an overwhelmed introvert. Which apparently came off as snotty. (I know this because a very drunk classmate decided to scream this at me at my 10-year-old reunion, to my horror. Good times.) That interaction certainly didn’t boost my confidence going in to this reunion. Nor did the grumbling at my executive decision to veto several people’s idea that we hold the reunion at a redneck biker bar with a confederate flag hanging from the stage. Oh, Florida.
Anyways, I went and ended up having a really great time. Everyone seemed more mellow than our 10-year-reunion. It’s like no one had anything to prove. The cliques that were present in high school and even at our 10-year-reunion were no more. It was casual and we all mingled and caught up. It’s so interesting the people you connect with in adulthood. There were a lot of people that I had much more in common with now than I did in high school, and vice-versa. But there were also friends that I haven’t spoken to in years that felt like we’d just seen each other. It was especially fun to reminisce about our choir trip shenanigans and cheerleading drama.
This is the point in the reunion when we started doing some of our old cheerleading routines. Someone take us home, for the love.
How about you? Did you go to your high school reunion? Was it fraught or easy?