**Note** I’ve been working on this post for a few days, still not happy with it, but having just signed up to volunteer at BarCamp in September, figure I should probably do the social media thing and blog already.
I went to my 10-year High School reunion this past weekend.
It was, in a word, surreal.
I’m not sure what I’d expected of my graduating class – maybe that everyone had moved up and out and changed as much as I think I have since High School. Maybe that I’d be surprised and everyone was wildly happy and successful.
But really, everyone was exactly the same.
The people who seemed most likely to succeed have certainly done that (and it was nice to reconnect with some of them), and those who seemed to have no particular path they were following are still meandering along without any indication of much purpose.
I went to High School in a pretty small town 2 hours outside Vancouver. Population about 8,000. My graduating class was one of the bigger groups in recent history at 97 students. After I left, I kept in touch with exactly no one.
And I’m trying to write this without coming off as a complete asshole, but I think I’m going to fail – so I may as well just go for it.
A great number of people back there are seriously fucked up.
Normal there is to not bat an eye when people have multiple babies with multiple partners.
Normal there is to hold no curiosity of the world at large, and to aim only as high as next weekend, where levels of drunkenness will be compared to those of weeks before.
Normal there is to go to the local bar, and have the unease of feeling like a brawl could start up any second, because that’s just how disagreements are dealt with.
Normal there is to have truly peaked at 18, and still live life as if that’s how old one still is.
And sure, everyone laughs at Blue Collar Comedy thinking “heh, amusing, but this is made up. People aren’t actually that backwards or ignorant.” Newsflash: they are.
I moved there one week shy of my 13th birthday, having just started to figure out what I want out of life. I was stunned and disappointed at the lack of possibility and potential I was suddenly surrounded with. I also wasn’t particularly shy about my disappointment with where I’d landed at the time, which made me a social pariah for most of my time there.
I guess over the years I lived there I got a bit used to it – but damn, the confusion and alarm and just wrongness of it all smacked me in the face all over again when I returned.
So yes, it’s completely judgemental of me – but, to put it mildly, even though I spent 5 of the most formative years of my life in that town with that crowd: they are not my people, I do not belong, I’d rather never go back.
Has anyone else had as traumatic an experience with their High School reunion?