I have been to two high school reunions – 10 years and 20 years.
The first one: I showed up overdressed, half drunk and with a chip on my shoulder. I drank too much, fell down a flight of stairs and almost certainly offended some people.
The second one: I showed up as me.
The difference? Ten years.
School reunions are nerve wracking. The teenage self that lives inside all of us re-emerges, replete with school yard fears. Am I too fat? Do I look old? Will people judge me for my failed relationships? Will the bullies still pick on me? Did anyone even like me at school?
On and on it goes.
We worry about our deficiencies. We quell our nerves with booze. We hope that at least one of our old friends remembers us.
So what happens when you get there?
The faces are the same except maybe a little crinklier around the eyes. The person you knew is still there but they’ve been mellowed and fortified by years of life.
School reunions are not only a beautiful chance to re-connect with old friends; they’re also a rare opportunity to finally put that insecure inner teenager to rest. By talking to your old friends, you realise that life has taken them in all sorts of directions that no one could have ever predicted. In spite of that, you still have something in common that goes beyond the fact that you went to the same school.
The common thread? That no matter how much time passes, you’re still all growing up together.