The high school reunion strikes fear...
As if we’re not stressed-out enough, how about going to the high school reunion. Especially if some number of decades have passed since being a teenager. November is a big reunion month for many, and this is how it was for me this week . . .
Should I go? Shouldn’t I go? Why would I go, why wouldn’t I go? Going is dumb, going is fun, going is scary, going is connecting, going is wasting my precious time and God knows we don’t have much of that left, going is laughing when laughing came from the bottom of our souls (even if we didn’t know what a soul was), going is exhausting, going is honoring the past, going is looking backward instead of forging ahead, going is a once in a lifetime opportunity, going is rummaging through an old yearbook and reading, “Be careful in the future and if you’re not, name it after me.” Do I really need to see that guy?
Do I really need to see anybody? If I didn’t see them in decades, I don’t need to see them now. I don’t look good enough. They don’t look good enough. They’ll make me feel old. They’ll look like my parents and my parents are dead. They’ll look like what I really look like and I prefer to believe we’re frozen in time.
If we’re not, I won’t recognize anybody. And nobody will recognize me. I’ll get stuck pretending I know people when they tell me they slept over my house in baby doll pajamas and we both kissed the same boy. Lots of people probably kissed him, that cute gymnast, but I don’t want to know about it. I don’t want to tell who else I kissed either.
Besides, I’ll be too nervous, jumpy, jittery. I’ll walk in and we’ll all start screaming. I’m worried we’ll scream just to scream, we won’t have any idea what we’re screaming about especially because we won’t remember who we’re screaming with. I’m worried my throat will rupture, I’ll laugh too hard to breathe, I’ll need my asthma inhaler.
I’m worried something stupid will happen before the event, like I’ll break my wrist (which I did), and I’ll look all washed up. I want everyone to remember me as I was, or as I pretended I was, before wrinkles, rolls, age spots, gray hair, dental work. Before we had kids and mates and careers and even cars, and bad stuff happened. Lots of bad stuff.
But so much good stuff too. So very much good stuff. But was it enough? Would going make me feel how much I accomplished, or how little? Would I leave feeling better about myself or worse? Would I leave believing those were the best years of my life, if I could only remember them more. If only I hadn’t done so many stupid things that somehow other people do remember.
And when all was said and done, when all the pros and cons were aired and weighed, I went. I finally went. And I did remember . . .
Remembered when we were so young and still are, when we had so much fun and still do, when we were all in this together and still are, and that we are so lucky to be here, so lucky, because some of us didn’t make it this far. Like that
cute gymnast I kissed.
I went to celebrate the good times, those innocent and silly times, those precious times that helped make us who we are today. To savor the fullness of life, every single aspect. That’s why I went. I went to simply remember.
Everything else, I finally realized, was just water over the dam.