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What is the first thought you had when you received an invitation for a high school reunion? Did you immediately discard it or spend some time dwelling on it with contempt, remembering your life back then, before finally throwing it into the thrash?

Let’s be honest: everybody resents going to a high school reunion. Even those who used to be the most popular or the ones who have “made it”. It’s perfectly understandable. Why would you go back to the place where your teenage hormones kicked hard, making you feel, look and act stupid and meet all those people you didn’t like, but were forced to be around? Those who witnessed your “emo” or “hippie” phase, those who judged, those who ridiculed, those who gossiped, those who disappointed you, those you falsely admired?

Of course, there are certain people who want to go back and show the rest how far they’ve reached, prove others wrong in their disapproving judgment. To me, this is quite a superficial thing to do and reason to go. If you’re perfectly happy with yourself, you won’t have the need to go and show off or prove something to anyone. It’ll just not be on your happy agenda, unless you moved through life only with that purpose in mind.

Nevertheless, there are few good reasons why going to a reunion may be an interesting experience. And believe me since this is coming from someone considered “different”, the odd one out, in those days, which luckily I always considered a great thing.

– Accepting where you come from.

There’s no point in being angry at the friend who betrayed you or the guy who broke your heart or anyone disapproving of you for that matter. It has taught you valuable lessons and was inevitable as such. Would you rather still be the same naïve person as back then? Accept your past with all the little and big pains, disappointments and inconveniences. It’s like accepting your parents fully for what they are, forgiving them for their mistakes. Most importantly, it’s a sign of maturity, of being a grown-up.

– Success is subjective.

Everybody has a different definition of success. Why pity those who stayed at the same place, got married and raised children, without experiencing the university life, meeting new people, having a cool/dream job, travel around? They made their choice and they may be completely contented or even happier than you. Both success and failure are personal experiences. You’ve failed only if you think and feel you did. The same holds for success. You’ve succeeded once you feel happy, wherever you are, whoever you’re with, whatever you do.

– Refurbish your memories.

We all have positive and negative memories, good and bad things that happened to us. Sometimes going back to the beginning can lead you further than you’ve initially been; shed a light on something you’ve missed or have long forgotten. Visiting the places you used to go long ago and meeting old friends/acquaintances can be an eye-opening experience, something you need without realizing it.

The dreaded high school reunion can be a wonderful event, but only if you let it. Going back to your roots, thus remembering the “old” you, past anxieties and dreams can only make you understand yourself better. And returning to your new, “real life” with a renewed understanding is refreshing. At least, that’s how it was for me.

How about you? What are your thoughts? 

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16 thoughts on “Why You Should Go to a High School Reunion

  1. I still don’t know if I could bring myself to go to one of these things. But lately I’ve been having kinder thoughts about my younger self and the situations she found herself in. They were no bodies fault – just circumstance and stupidity. All grown up maturity aside I think I’ll stick to John Hughes movies for my teenage kicks these days, I’d rather that than the reality of a reunion! 😉

    • Well this definitely confirms that everybody resents going. One may wonder why are they organized in the first place. Anyhow, I understand your position and I felt the same way, but something pushed me to go and I experienced good things in the end and managed to accept that part of my life and see it in a new light. No convincing here, just sharing. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by; always welcome.

  2. I actually resented not being able to go to my ten year reunion. But I didn’t go to a large, public high school, so maybe my experience doesn’t count. Coincidentally, my wife was just telling me about some of her former classmates “freaking out” about their reunion a few years back. Is it because they still live in the same area? I really don’t get it, but then again, I’m extremely independent and too worried about my own life’s circumstances than to fret about people I knew nearly twenty years ago. The only reason I keep in contact with any former classmates is because of Facebook. And even then, it’s more of a voyeuristic relationship.
    Maybe we cling to those memories because that was a time in our lives when we had a good mix of freedom and lack of responsibilities.

    • It’s a chaotic period – those teenage years. When I think about it now, it seems like a completely different life and as if it didn’t happen to me. After going through all of it together, some people need to prove themselves to those who disapproved of them and show what they did, like a left-over childish instinct. Also, it serves as a reality life check, and if someone abuses a weak point of yours, you may feel just like a teenager all over again. As a heavy emotional period for most people, it’s easy to resent these reunions I guess.

  3. Living 14 hours from where I grew up, I was unable to make my 10 year reunion. We generally plan 2 trips home each year to see family (One in July, and one at Christmas), and the reunion fell in October so it was easily dismissed at the time.

    In retrospect, I truly wish I would have attended. It nothing else, simply to see some people’s faces that I spent 13 years growing up with! I’m sure it would have been great to get together and hear stories of families, babies, adventures.

    I’m there for the next one.

  4. I wanted to go to my various High School reunions (..that’s what I Get for going to 4 different high schools XD) but I haven’t been able to, because of money. I guess the next one will be my 20th…That is so weird. Guess the gray in my hair means I’m getting old, heh.

  5. I didn’t go to my high school reunion because something fell through and we didn’t have one, heh. Initially, I didn’t want to go to one, because I didn’t want to be put in a position to judge people or to try and show off. But lately, I’ve been thinking that it would be interesting to see people that I knew in high school. Now that I’ve been saved, I think it would be a real interesting testimony.

  6. Hey Sophie, good one. I opted out of my 20yr reunion. Not much of a fan of going back to see all those folks I spent that particular part of my youth with. Just the old social norms an awkward relationships make me shudder. I could say I think it would be interesting to see some of the people I knew and it would but for the most part I would be lying.

    It leaves me to think, why am I hiding?

    It would be one evening; a social gathering. I like those but I don’t really have any fond memories of that time in my life. However, on a bright note, I do have a good friend that I still spend time with that I made in high school. It has been 29 years since we graduated and we have shared our lives as we have taken the path through adulthood. Although we spend little time together every time we speak it’s like old home week.

    Well, the only way to know is to see when the next reunion happens. Maybe next year at 30 years. Wow, time just seems to fly by. Thanks for your thoughts. Really appreciated that today.

    • Am I the youngest one around here ? 🙂 Age doesn’t matter though; keeping our spirits does, a lot. I had the exact same feelings like you, wanting to escape any awkwardness even if it’s for one night only. But then, I wanted to remind myself of that past, good and bad, see if I’ll experience some of the feelings I had back then when I meet all those people. It was very strange indeed as if my high school years were in another life, so long ago, ancient history.

      Learning something from any experience is what I’m going for usually and this one was definitely an example. Glad to hear that you have at least one friend from high-school all those years. Some people don’t even have that. One real friend counts more than thousand pretenders. Thanks for sharing your view Ralph; positive as usual.

      • Thanks Sophie. Keep up the great writing and sharing. I agree, learning from your experiences is what really matters. The rest is just fluff.

  7. Pingback: •ρ• High School Memories « Reflections on Reality

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