I recently received an invitation for my high school reunion re-do. As with the first one, I will be missing it due to a prior commitment. It’s not that I think I’m above them; it’s just that my life is busy. I can’t justify skipping a cancer walk (my godmother is in stage 4) to drive home for it. Though, I admit, part of me is curious.
I imagine that class reunions of the facebook era are quite different than the pre-spill-all-your-buisiness-online days. Facebook tells us their marital status, their education, their workplace, and even if they have children or not. Still there is something facebook doesn’t tell you, who are they today.
Are you the same person you were in high school? Take a long hard minute to think about it. While I still have some of those qualities, I’ve really grown a lot. I’ve grown up. I’ve expanded my horizons. Life extends far beyond those few miles of my hometown.
You see our ‘selves’ are dynamic. We change over time. We are influenced by so many things in life; friends, college, jobs, experiences. To find out who these people are today, to see how their ‘selves’ have changed fascinates me.
I want to know if the jocks grew up to have the life they imagined. I want to know who actually graduated college. As we enter our thirties, I want to know who’s happy, and who is not. More than anything though, I’m curious about their relationships. Some of them married right out of high school. Are they still together? The late teens and early 20’s are tumultuous times. As your self is changing, it’s important that your partners changes along with you. Failure to embrace change can lead to problems. I want to know who’s actually divorced and who is really ‘still single’.
Another interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed is returning to the high school pool. Through facebook people are meeting up again and often times hooking up. I’ve read stories about marriages ending because of facebook. One person finds a former fling, or just a former classmate, and things sizzle. What I want to see is, how many new/old couples actually last.
One of the nice jocks from my middle school days- which surprisingly I look back on more fondly than high school, started dating a cheerleader, and elementary friend of mine, seven years after graduation. They are now engaged. My best friend is now dating the guy she dated on and off for years shortly after high school. Even movie plot lines center on people attending reunions to see if their former crush would be interested in them now.
There is an exciting nostalgia for the high school years. Many of us would gladly trade in responsibility for classes and first-kisses. When you meet someone you were once close with, often times your ‘self’ goes back to that place. There is a comfort in who we once were. When we bring that out in each other, it can be something very special.
Think back to your high school boyfriend or girlfriend. What do you miss? Often times it is the innocence. Sometimes it is that puppy love. Sometimes we truly feel like they are ‘the one that got away’. It’s fun to look back now and again.
And although my high school boyfriends were predominantly of the homosexual variety, I still wonder about some of them. (Before you start feeling bad for me, you can’t ask for a better prom date! A great dancer who isn’t looking for sex? A real winner for most 17-year-olds!) I wonder what they are doing now. I wonder if they are married. I wonder why I can’t find them on facebook J.
It’s easy to get caught up in nostalgia. Sometimes nostalgia brings back a sense of safety. Sometimes nostalgia brings comfort. Sometimes nostalgia even brings back friendships. Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing.
But here comes the point where I caution you. Nostalgia is meant for brief visitation, not long-term stays. If you loved them in high school, and find yourself attracted today, make sure that you love who they are today, not who they were yesterday. On the same note, if they were a dork in high school, it’s been over 10 years, look at who they are today.
It’s important to remember that life is here and now. Brief glimpses of the past are fun and even good for us. However, living your life like your best days are behind you, whether in high school or college, doesn’t allow you to completely experience today. (I’ve dated a few of these type, yikes! No I don’t want to hear about your junior year football games again.) Nostalgia is about looking at who you were then, who you are now, and how far you’ve come. Our ‘selves’ are constantly changing. Embracing these changes make us stronger and well-adjusted.
I’ve been lucky enough to find a few of my ex-boyfriend’s on facebook. Two are married, one has a child. The one who got away from middle school? The one that I thought didn’t like me, but really did, only to learn about it after I had moved away, guy? Well I had the opportunity see him again as an adult. I’m happy to say he’s become a wonderful man. Not who I thought he’d become in the seventh grade, but better. And the gay boy? His boyfriend has the same name as mine. Curiosity has even gotten the best of me too.
But I’m not that middle school girl in Three Rivers, Michigan anymore. I’m not that hate-the-world 1990’s grunge-era high school student from Cedar Springs, Michigan anymore. I’m a woman who’s already lived a pretty awesome life, met some pretty great people along the way, and who continues to embrace the changes life has in store for me. The best is still yet to come.
For the Cedar Springs High School class of 1999, enjoy your mini reunion. I’m very curious about each of you, and I’m sorry I cannot attend. Maybe next time I can make it. (More notice, please!) Just remember to share with each other who you are now, in addition to reminiscing about who you were then.