First off, I am not alone in this! Just search “going to high school reunion” on Google and notice how most titles contain the words “not going”, or start with “X reasons” to either attend or not.
Second, I was actually excited when I first heard the reunion was being organized. I figured I could attend for a few hours, if only to celebrate my current life without all the crap and drama from high school. We could get back in touch, reminisce, satisfy our curiosity about who is where in their life, and party like it’s 2006.
I talked to one of the people organizing the event, and he said he’d call me when anything has been decided since I don’t have a Facebook account under my name (because of stalker issues way back when, I still won’t be sharing my pen name but with a handful of people I know in real life). He asked if I knew phone numbers of some former colleagues, or had any ideas for an event hall. I said I’d find out/ask advice from friends and get back to him.
When I found out one of the phone numbers he was interested in, I texted him. After I complied a list of five event hall ideas I knew were good and not too pricey, I texted him.
Both texts received the same answer, that is, NO answer. Two months later there was still no news from him or anyone organizing the reunion.
That half-snapped me out of it!
I started thinking. Or overthinking?
Sure, after suffering through high school and having since built a wonderful, rewarding life for myself despite any bad experiences and setbacks (that’s just Life), showing off my success to the people that treated me badly could’ve been quite vindicating. Then again, when ever I wanted to, I could’ve just friended all my former high school colleagues on Facebook if I wanted to brag or see who is up to what in their life.
However, I have kept in touch with precisely two (2!) people from high school! Another person I ran into on a nearly daily basis when I was working as QA, but she rarely said “hello” back.
If I want someone in my life, chances are they’re already there!
The idea of one hundred people in the same room as me doesn’t really agree with me. You might recall I don’t particularly like weddings either, although one did give me enough material for a blog post. (As a side note, I am already dreading having to go to a wedding this October where I can’t use that clever survival guide, since I’m not really friends with the bride and groom.)
While these people I do somewhat know after four years of high school together, having to make polite chit-chat while old cliques inevitably form doesn’t appeal to me. We didn’t have much in common ten years ago, and I don’t expect to have much in common now after we’ve all changed, defined ourselves and turned into adults.
New York Magazine ran an article about “Why you never truly leave high school”, which discussed how our self-image from those years is especially adhesive. The article asserts that one of the reasons high schools produce such peculiar value systems is precisely because the people there have little in common, except their ages. Since there is no clear way to sort out social status, kids create them on their own based on crude, common-denominator stuff like nice clothes, athletic prowess, and looks, rather than on subtleties in personalities. This results in an unfortunate paradox: Though adolescents may want nothing more than to be able to define themselves, they discover that high school is one of the hardest places to do it. I didn’t have nice clothes, wasn’t athletic, and went through quite a long phase of curtain-type bangs. Maybe (surely) I was one of those kids, not quite fitting into one of those categories, but desperately wanting to neatly belong.
Truth be told, what makes me happiest about my decision of not attending my high school reunion isn’t only all of the above. I could’ve made myself suck it up and go, only for those people who I maybe would’ve liked catching up with. I just didn’t want to after really thinking about all of this. I figured I’d rather go out with friends I do enjoy being with and celebrate my birthday instead.
I texted the guy organizing the reunion, saying that I won’t be going. I wanted to do the right thing so they wouldn’t count on me. This time, he texted back. He said I should’ve checked the Facebook group discussions if I wanted to find out anything about the event before making other plans, that I was the only one who didn’t receive the information he put out there.
OK. That definitely snapped me out of it!