My ten year high school reunion is on tonight. When these events crop up they become contentious; will or won’t you attend? I decided to attend mine. There are some girls I’d really like to see again and I figured if I am just glad I saw one or two of them it will be worth it. So I’m attending mine tonight and thought I’d do a before and after post. I’ll let you know if it is worth attending or if it’s just a bloody nightmare. Self-sacrifice if you will. You can call me Jesus (it’s ok I made that joke as I went to a Catholic school).
Getting the invitation was a shock. Has it really been ten years since I donned my smurf-like school uniform of blue kilt, blue shirt, blue tights and blue blazer? Has it been that long since I’d miss my train, arriving late to homeroom (again), missing important things like “prayer of the day” and birthday notices? At first it seems impossible and as thought time has cheated me. However when I contemplate my three years at university, working full-time at different jobs, and all those adventures living out of my backpack in Europe, I realise a lot has happened.
Looking back at those six years the memory feels blurred like the quality of the photo below. Was that really me? Too shy to raise my hand in class in case I gave the wrong answer? Avoiding the mean girls so I didn’t get in their way? At the core I’m the same. But imprints of experiences, both wonderful and heartbreaking, have changed me. Time has added depth, colour and knowledge and I am different.
So what will it be like to step back to that place? The place where in some eyes I was just the nerdy, quiet girl with glasses who played the trumpet in the concert band? To others I sucked up to teachers sitting at the front and laughing at their jokes (in reality I couldn’t read the overheads and am an easy crowd) I was never the smartest, sportiest, coolest, funniest or best at anything. I never really had a particular skill that stood me out from the crowd. At least that is how I always felt.
Now, ten years on, what will I say when they predictably ask: “so what have you been up to?” Why is it so hard to answer that question when you haven’t seen someone in a long time? Most people will talk about their jobs, but that can be tedious. I’m expecting the other big topics like marriage, kids, where you live and whether you own a home will be checked off too. As a single living in a share house and unsure about my job, it’s not looking promising. In a previous post about ‘birthday blues’ I mentioned how sad I feel about people measuring their worth by these things. But I fear that type of chat will be unavoidable in this situation. I’m hoping that the night doesn’t become a competitive “talk at you” type situation (and true to my 16 yr old self I would bow out early of this competition). Or maybe I should follow the kind advice of my mother and “make up a better story”. The worst part is I’ll probably find myself asking others that same annoying question, because where do you start after all that time?
Have you been to your school reunion? Was it a “talk at you” fest with people trying to one up each other? Do you have a good response to someone when they say “what have you been up to?” Do you have a better question to ask?
UPDATE: You can read my after thoughts here.