Friday, June 01, 2012

The Best Excuse to Not Attend my High School Reunion

Do you remember where you were in June, 2002?  I do.  I was 18, full of Senioritis, and very much ready to leave behind the only world I'd ever known.  I graduated high school with honors and distinction.  I had college plans, a two good summer jobs, and was unattached to any boys.  I was stepping off that huge cliff into a much, much brighter life.

The Man and I both face the decision of whether or not to attend our 10-year class reunions this year.  That's right, it has been ten full years since we both received our first diplomas.  We're 28, educated, married, and successful by any standard.  He has decided he wants to attend his reunion.  I, on the other hand, probably won't attend mine.

The many excuses people use to get out of going to their high school reunions all sound the same.  It is virtually impossible to say "I don't want to go" without sounding bitter, like you have poor self-esteem about your physical state or accomplishments, like you are shunning the kids you grew up with, or can't afford the expensive trip back home.  I don't have any of those excuses.

Lots of my classmates are probably figuring that they won't go since they can all stay in contact with classmates on Facebook.  Most of them probably do keep up that way.  I don't.  I elected to delete (no, really delete, it can be done) my Facebook profile.  I didn't accept friend requests from people in high school simply because we went to the same schools.  We weren't friends then, and I hardly see us becoming friends now online.  I don't want to see the false-front of their lives, and I don't want to worry if I look one way or another to them.  My friends exist in the non-electronic world.

I can't use distance as an excuse to not go.  I live a mere half-hour from where I grew up (and, shockingly, just a few blocks from the hospital where I was born).  My grandmother still lives in that town, so I'm over there every couple months for a visit anyway.

Many people use the "but I'm fat now" or "but I'm not rich" or "my job is lame" excuses to get out of their high school reunions.  Neither The Man nor I can use those.  Of course I do weigh more than I did in high school, as does he.  It would be unhealthy for us to both weigh that little at our ages (we were incredibly "blessed," if you like the idea of being so skinny people constantly teased us about it).  We aren't wealthy, but we have no debt, and we strive to live within our means.  Our careers have been slow to take off, though The Man has two degrees and I have one.  We are both employed full-time with benefits.  That's good enough for me to be proud.

I don't particularly dislike anyone from school, and I certainly don't hate anyone enough to avoid attending any reunions.  I wasn't popular by a long shot, seeing how being the biggest band geek in the school can ruin a social life pretty quickly.  But I was smart and determined, and I think my classmates recognized that.  For as awkward as I was (and the teasing I endured for thirteen years because of it), I'd like to think some of them almost respected me.

I can't use any of those common excuses.  I am not far away, not expecting any children, not going out of town that weekend, not sensitive about my shape or status or choices in life.  I should go, right?

Wrong.  The best excuse to not go to my high school reunion?  I don't want to.

Who I was then and who I am now are so completely different.  I don't want the Former Me reintroducing itself in my life, and I don't want Current Me on display for people to judge or label.  I don't seek affirmation from people I last saw ten years ago.  I don't wish to partake in the gossip circles, the inevitable Trip down Memory Lane, or the reintroducing myself to people I didn't really want to know when I was 18.

It's not personal.  I just don't want to go.


Katdulce said...

I feel the exact same way! My reunion weekend is happening as we speak and I don't want to go.

Anonymous said...

I landed on this blog because I have a reunion coming up very soon and my friends are trying their hardest to get me to go. I graduated in 2002 also and I could use some of those excuses (I am not at all where I thought I would be 10 years after high school, job-wise or relationship-wise), but my real reason for not wanting to go is just...not wanting to go. I still see the few people from my class that I want to see. The rest...I don't really want to see them, and I highly doubt that they really, truly want to see me.

Deb Jurkovac said...

I won't go. I wasn't popular, didn't particpate in the class activities, wasn't a partier, wasn't married in school and was not the class clown. Those are the popular ones.

Ron said...

It has been 32 years now since I left high school in the rear view mirror. I have not attended nor will I likely ever attend any high school related social function.

High school was a different time in our lives. Very little of what we did outsided the educational value of school has any impact on our lives as adults in the real world. We spent so much energy and effort trying to decypher the unwritten rules of the high school caste system so we could some how fit in. What dominated our lives then, being popular, going to the right parties, being recognized by the in-crowd was revealed to me to be complete rubbish and a foolish waste of one's energy.

I learned very quickly about the real adult world, real adult responsibilities and the consequences of failing to perform. The adult world exposed me things such as a person facing a life threatening illness, red flags in an upcomming marriage, a person who worked two jobs and could still not maintain his lifestyle, a man-child who could not deal with his wife's pregnancy, and people who made foolish decisions early in their lives and were now paying for it.

This was a far cry from what dominates the social aspect of school. I have grown up, away and beyond that time. What was of such dire importance then, is literally child's play now. Consequently what bonded us together as friends then is of no interest to me today.

We have not kept in touch, I trust and hope the guys I knew then have done well. My memories of that time are neither fond nor horrid. Just memories that fade more each year.

My glory days were not 35 years ago, gaining the recognition of the teachers and more so giving fellow students cause to remember me. I have gone on to bigger and better things that have brought me real life rewards.

My school does have an alumni site, I only recognize a few names and less friends. There are the social events and pictures of the blue eyeliner girls posing with pastel coloured beverages, and the guys crunched together in a group hug, each displaying a scuffed beer bottle. A scanned copy of a well preserved newspaper picture of "the big game".

Absent are the big league careers of the jocks, and the modelling careers of the wannabe models. Somehow, I get the impression that these folks all peaked in high school. Of the students who gained recognition for their efforts back then, which was mainly the arts and athletics-I ask what has that gotten them today? I don't mean in terms of money.

I can not get nostalgic about it. I do not want to sit around with people I know longer know and compare resumes. I wish no particular evil on anybody from that time, and would take to particular pleasure learning of misfortune.

It is all in the past now. A long time past. The good and the bad times just keep sinking lower down the trash heap of history.

Dan Van Helden said...

It's funny that the popular clicks try to get people who weren't popular in high school to participate in the high school reunion. I've gotten messages from a particular person the last few reunions from Facebook and I never replied. This year I ignored her message again then another popular person wanted to get my information to send me a invitation.

I took the advise from this article and simply replied that I won't be attending this years reunion. Then she asked me for my information anyway. I replied "is that really necessary?" She replied "its not necessary its just that I've put a lot of work into tracking people down and it would be nice to have a staring point for future reunions". I replied "if I plan on attending any reunions in the future that she would be the first to know and have a nice summer". I didn't get a response after that.

Off the hook! Hope that helps others who are in this awkward situation.

Anonymous said...

My class reunion is being hosted by the class jerk. My gut reaction after being invited was: "You have to be kidding me." I still remember how the jerk made fun of a frail, sickly man who was the husband of one of the teachers. He mocked a girl in my class because of an injury she received. He tried to get my sister drunk, but she was more than he could handle. Ironically, the bully's wife seems to adore him, but maybe she's just another person pretending to be happy on Facebook. I've moved on and had a lot of wonderful experiences since graduating from my depressing rural high school in another state. As soon as I come up with the right excuse, I'm declining the invitation.

Ellard Jensen said...

Anonymous - I had much the same feeling about attending a high school reunion. This year as previous years is sponsored by one of the most snobbish persons I have ever met. While she was very popular in high school, she was the very last I know of to be married and after a few years being employed returned to her home town where she became the chief frog in that pond. Best to avoid negative encounters and simply move on to better things. As for excuses, I simply will not even answer the invitation.