My fortieth high school reunion is this year.
Since the invitation came out, I’ve been in many conversations about whether or not to go. The naysayers have excellent points.
- High school wasn’t a great experience for me. I was uncool, unpopular, and only found a somewhat comfortable corner in the drama club. So, what’s there to relive?
- I live out of state. There is a cost to flying up to New York and spending a night in a hotel. Will the reunion be worth the expense?
- I married my high school sweetheart. While others may have married too, I think we’re the only ones still together. Will we finally be awarded the superlative “Romeo and Juliette”? (Probably not.)
- Facebook has enabled connections. I now am “friends” with people who were not my friends in high school. Will it be awkward to see them in person?
- Don’t look back. What’s the point of a reunion? Will it change anything in the life I now live? Will “going back” heal or fix anything?
On the flip side, however, there are reasons I’d like to go.
- Curiosity. We all lived in the same town and went to the same school. Where is everyone now? What twists and turns have lives taken since 1979? I am interested in learning about the paths taken.
- Healing. Even if I had a hard time in high school, confronting the past and accepting the influence it had on who I became is cathartic.
- Authenticity. I want the opportunity to be “the real me” with people who never really knew me.
- Networking. Maybe I can sell a trip or two to Israel :-).
- Memorials. One classmate died a couple of months ago. The news was sad and sobering. Reunion is a chance to honor her memory and those of the others no longer with us. None of us is getting any younger.
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Besides a high school reunion, I received notice of another one this week. I lived in Israel during the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades. And though I didn’t graduate with my childhood classmates in the eighth grade, I stayed in touch with many of them through our high school years.
I truly was excited when this invitation came. My memories of those days are deeply ingrained happy ones. We had parties, went camping, played games, shared first kisses, and even experienced the Yom Kippur war together. Though I only attended three years of school with these “kids,” they – and living in Israel – had a tremendous impact on shaping my life.
Who I am and what I do today directly correlate to those days. I learned Hebrew then and still speak it. I loved being in Israel then and still do. My Jewish identity was formed then and evolved to what it is today. I felt accepted and valued there, and still do.
While I know there are reasons to not go to this reunion, I’m ignoring them. I want to go. So, I’m going.
As for my high school reunion? I am going to re-watch Romy and Michele, and will go to that reunion too. It will be nice to see everyone. And my high school boyfriend will be with me. They just better play ‘70s music.