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.
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?