Monday, July 17, 2017

The Day After My 20th High School Reunion

So if you’re an avid reader of my blog you (well are most likely my mother-in-law)
and know that I recently had my 20th high school reunion.  When I told people that I didn’t go to my high school that I’d be attending my reunion, for the most part I received the same response; “Ew! Why would you do that?”  “I’ve never been to one” “Isn’t that what Facebook is for?”
And now, with the reunion behind me, I can’t help but wonder why more people don’t attend their own reunions.

Maybe it’s because we had a small school, our graduating class was about 100 people.  Although to be fair, while in the midst of it I didn't imagine I would be a "reunion person". I remember graduating and telling my roommate that I was never going back.  (Yes, rebel that I was I had a roommate for the last month of school as the second I turned 18, I flew the nest!)  In fact I didn’t even go to the BIG party because I had rent to pay, and a job to get to in he morning. And to be honest I never felt popular in high school, in fact I felt the absolute opposite, and remember at times counting the days until I was free from that "sleepy little town".

Fast forward ten years and I popped into my ten year reunion because I felt that it was the thing to do.  And in the decade between that I went to various pop up reunion nights, if someone was coming in town I’d meet up, I’d chat with people on Facebook.
And let’s not forget our town’s yearly art festival.  It’s as if we had a reunion every year.
So why go to the twenty?

There is something to be said about the people you went to battle with.  Yes, I’m being a bit hyperbolic, because we didn’t literally go into battle (although some of my classmates did answer that call) but we were all in that building at the same time where we wanted to do something more than anything; find ourselves.  We were the sporty kids, the musically inclined kids, the techies, the dramatic kids, but at the end of it, we were all just kids trying to find our way.  And find it we did...eventually. Beyond that we found a bond with one another.

Maybe it’s because we are that forgotten generation, that new termed “Xennials”- you know that microgeneration after X, but before millennials.  We started with the Dewey Decimal system, and eased right into ebooks.  We envied the Zack Morris phone, yet today we use the iPhone 7. We were the last generation to go all through high school passing notes, who learned the internet through dial up to gobble it up as broadband; the last generation to go to school without stories of school shootings, cyber-bullying; the nightmares that keep us awake now as adults. Compared to today's kids, our generation was idyllic. Or maybe it’s because we came from that “sleepy little town”.  But when we got together it wasn’t what my nightmares said it would be; you know the nightmares-the stares, no one to talk to...feeling awkward.  It was as if two decades hadn’t gone by; the tables filled with the lunch cliques were replaced with pub tables, but with integration.  as we ate, chatted about our families, gave advice, talked about our careers, our shared past and collective memories.  The teachers we loved, even the ones we didn’t really love in the midst of it all.
There’s a bond there that is difficult to describe.  A bond where any of the teen angst from the past doesn’t matter.  A bond where people who weren’t there, don’t get it.  And you would think more people would have had this experience.  I wish I knew why they didn’t, and I’m sorry for them.  For they are missing out on something exceptional.

So my fellow Xenials let's do this again… but why wait five years-let's make it two years- when the majority of us will be turning 40.  We redefined 30, we redefined our own generation, we redefined reunions so why not redefine 40?

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