I’ll say it, even though I don’t actually believe it: my twenty year high school class reunion is this summer. As a group, we are preparing to go back to the time of flannel shirts. But, here’s the thing…I don’t actually think it has been twenty years. Sure, there was college, then graduate school, the professional career, then the travel phase of life, the super fun times with friends because we were all childless, then there was buying a house and moving phase, the multiple failed relationships phase, the transition from wine coolers to wine, the friendship with my parents phase, the having babies phase, the finding THE ONE phase, the career crisis phase…but I really believe I did all of that in about 7 years, 11 years tops.
At least, it feels like it’s only been a decade. Sure, I feel like a completely different person than the insecure brat who mouthed off to her parents, and indeed it’s now an entirely different era.
When the OHS class of 1994 was launched into the world, not one of us had an email address. Or a cell phone. Or an understanding of why we might ever want these things. For graduation, I was given a word processor and a friend’s mom made me a basket of stationary with envelopes and stamps so that I could keep in touch with my friends.
At the risk of sounding like I’m heading to my 60 year class reunion, KIDS THESE DAYS don’t understand what it’s like to be out of touch with an entire group of people for 15 years. They don’t understand that the people who surrounded you for 12 years could just vanish and you met new people, new friends, new enemies. They don’t know the feelings of elation and fear when you realize that no one in your life knows anything about your awkward junior high moments.
As a group, we were allowed to change. We were allowed to grow and evolve and make thousands of ridiculous mistakes without tweeting them to the world.
I think reunions are losing their luster as we have the ability to be loosely connected and investigate anyone we want to. Reunions on movies and television always had people wondering about their former classmates as they nervously walked into the room. Who did that football star end up marrying?! Who ended up losing all of that weight?! Who is balding?! Will anyone recognize me?! Thanks to Facebook, we already know the answers to all of these questions. The mystique of the class reunion has disappeared.
As a group, we were together during the most difficult and the easiest times of our lives. Our job in high school wasn’t just the acquisition of knowledge, but to learn how to connect. To learn how to communicate, to learn who we wanted to be in the world. Some of us knew immediately, some of us have taken a winding path, and some of us still don’t know the impact we want to leave on this planet. For now, we’ll just get together, eat some tri-tip, make comments about how music in the mid-90s was the best, laugh at our former hairstyles, and acknowledge that we are all forever a part of each other’s memories.
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