Why do we torture ourselves with class reunions?
Ah, those wonderful days of high school. The time in our lives that many of us wish we could erase unless we happened to be the popular girl or the sports jock. If you were the nerd, the geek, the pimply one, the brain, or the loner (as I was), high school is an era that’s probably best left in the past. After all, who wants to recall the pain of peer pressure, trying to fit in, avoiding the bullies, wanting a boyfriend or girlfriend, being scared to have a boyfriend or girlfriend, and on and on the list goes.
High school was such a painful time for me that I made a clean break of things with my graduation, the last time I’ve seen my former classmates in person. I wanted to have a fresh start in college, grow as a person in my own right, and be welcomed by non-cliquish people. Strangely, though, during my college years I immaturely fantasized about my 10th year high school reunion. I imagined going with my graduate degrees, a great job as a college professor, and my handsome husband at my side. As things turned out 10 years after graduating from high school, I had the graduate degrees but not the great job or husband, and I didn’t attend my reunion because I never got word that there even was one.
From what I’ve been reading on the Internet and seeing in movies like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, I’m not the only one who imagined showing people I grew up with (and didn’t really like) what a success I’ve become since high school. Perhaps we think about our high school reunion as an event during which we’re finally accepted by our peers who have (we think) finally matured and are able to see our worthiness. It’s also an occasion for us to reflect on ourselves and measure how far we’ve come in our lives, contemplating whether we’re content with the people we’ve turned into.
Although I haven’t attended an actual high school reunion, I feel like I’ve attended a virtual one through the power of Facebook. My curiosity about my classmates–what they look like now, what they’re doing, whether they have families–has been satisfied, and any thought I had that people change over time has been eradicated. Through friends lists, I can see that the same cliques still exist, which makes my stomach turn and prompts me to wonder how I ever could have anticipated a pending high school reunion with something akin to enthusiasm. Sometimes we need to take off our rose-colored glasses and see things as they are in reality, grittiness included. Why not simply focus on the here and now and make the present better than the past?