Graduations and class reunions are nearing for many this Spring and Summer. I find reunions fascinating. I appreciate the experiences I had in high school. It was a collective community that helped to shape my character. Guess what – we were all trying to do the same thing at the same time – to grow up and to make our way through life!
When I go to a reunion, I reconnect with the community. I have a great opportunity to meet up with classmates and teachers at this point in their life. I enjoy finding out who they are today. People will tell me stories about me that I can’t, for the life of me, remember. I tell them stories that they don’t remember. Sometimes you find out who really pulled the epic prank in your Senior year. By your 25th reunion, people are willing to admit all kinds of secrets! It’s a great time for inner-reflection. Who am I compared to my 18-year-old self? What direction did my classmates take with their life? What are the high school experiences that have shaped my life? What did I take away from those years? Am I using that information in my life today in raising my son?
I have planned of some of my reunions. Let me tell you, it’s a weird experience. As I try to find classmates by phone or email, I find I am the touchstone for their memories as well as a confessional for their truths. People confide they can’t come because they’re very ill; they can’t afford it because they just lost their job; they’re not sure if they’re ready to reveal to everyone that they’re gay; and, on occasion, I’m told there’s no way they’re ever going to a reunion and to NEVER contact them again! (Yikes – alrighty then!)
I never understand why people don’t go to their reunions. I attended a small school, and every single one of my classmates affected my life and my character today. Even people who weren’t my friends affected my life in very deep ways. Triumphs or tragedies that occurred often shaped me throughout the rest of my life. (They were ALL either triumphs or tragedies – for a teenager there is no in between!)
We don’t often think about how we’ve affected each other’s lives. I have made friends with classmates in later years that I never would have expected to connect with. I have heard people reveal their high school experiences, and it throws me for a loop! I thought they were popular and happy! In fact, they may have been struggling with some very heavy issues for a teenager.
Try to celebrate those high school years, whatever your experience. I know for sure those memories and those people shaped who you are today – whether you want to admit it or not. And, go to your reunion! You never know who you might find there – it just may be yourself.