Don’t Skip Your High School Reunion
I was a little surprised to see a headline on CNN this morning that was in favor of High School reunions. I could feel my stomach curdle just thinking about it. Why would anyone subject themselves to high school again, even just for a night? Surely the only people who actually go to those things are the wildly successful with something to show off or those sad souls who really did have the best days of their life in locker lined hallways.
Isn’t half the fun of being a grown-up NOT going to events like that?
But as I read Jeff Pearlman’s piece, he raises a great point. Maybe that fear and dread is exactly why we should go. He writes:
Life is short. And boring and dry. And if we don’t occasionally force ourselves to face the most uncomfortable of situations, we shrivel up and die in front of the television, a half-eaten bag of stale Fritos in one hand, the remote control in the other.
He writes of going back, not the to school itself, but of stepping into a room full of people who knew him when he was too young to know better. He danced with the untouchable girl, chatted with better athlete and found, to his surprise that as 30 year olds, they were on surprisingly equal footing.
He goes on to say that, “Never again will you have a better chance to cleanse yourself, to make peace with the past. . .the reunion served as my farewell to any and all longstanding bitternesss.”
It reminds me of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Dave Wilcox’ “Last Chance Waltz” which also speaks of the healing potential of high school reunions. (You can hear it on David’s site)
But to heal the old pain we must face it again
so I’ll walk down that hallway once more.
I have come to this 10 yr reunion for my heart is still pris’ner of war.
‘n if I find it’s alright we’re escaping tonight.
That’s what I came back here for.
Won’t you please waltz me free?
The turns of our steps are untangling me,
free from some dragged around memory
and the rusty old remnants of fear.
It is so tempting to walk away from things that might be uncomfortable. But while a safe life might be easier, it’s also small, limited. Does this mean I’m ready to face my own reunion? I don’t know yet. It might be my Nineveh, but it’s certainly something to think about. A friend of mine talks a lot about the way we tell our own stories, the language we use to describe ourselves. I know that there are parts of my own story that I still tell in the broken language of someone who got hurt in those hallways. Maybe I need to take my adult self back the scene of the crime, to see if I view the truth differently now. (You can read my story here) Did you go to your high school reunion? Should I go to mine?