Reunited

**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?

Be Sociable, Share!

10 thoughts on “Reunited

  1. donna

    Mine was last year, and … it was underwhelming.

    I’m glad I went, because I’m generally quite nosy (hah), and the petty unpopular awkward high school girl in me wanted to see how some of my classmates had made out.

    The vast majority were still living in the same suburb we’d grown up, married (or divorced) with half a dozen kids, working the same shit jobs they’d had in high school. There were a few people I’d have liked to have talked to, but they were off having interesting lives elsewhere. Go figure.

    And y’know, I try really hard not to judge people based on my priorities, and god knows my life hasn’t gone exactly according to plan, but what it came down to was that I have nothing in common with those people. The people I’d like to keep in touch with, I’m still in touch with. Amazingly, the same people who were snotty & cliquey in high school are still snotty and cliquey.

    Overall: It was nice to go. It wasn’t traumatic, just … huh. I didn’t stay very late, I turned down going to the “afterparty” one of the girls suggested (one who I actually like, go figure) and I was happy to leave, and I won’t be returning to any future reunions.

  2. Miranda

    Ahhh….

    My 10 year high school reunion was last week, too. Between weddings booked and then of course the broken extremity I didn’t attend, but I have been keeping up on facebook with the photos and friend adds that came out of it.

    Reading your post I laughed knowing that had I actually gone to mine, I could have written almost an identical post.

    I grew up in a small town in northern Alberta of about 4500 people. Most of the people in my graduating class never left and the facebook tales and photos of drunken weekends seem to confirm your observation that the world is measured in liquor, as it was 10 years ago, only now there are kids involved. A few moved to Edmonton and now live in the suburbs with their families, but only a couple that I know of seem to be doing anything interesting.

    And, also with my class, multiple kids with multiple fathers is definitely not unheard of.

    I always thought that when I grew up, everyone would start behaving like adults. A few years ago though I realized that everyone still behaves like they did in high school(for some that is great, others, oh not so much), only it gets more pathetic as they really ought to become more wise and act as such as they age!

  3. joann in TX

    in three years i’ll be having my 40th high school reunion.
    will i go? NO….i’ve not been to one yet and i don’t plan
    on going to one in the future.

    didn’t care for most of my classmates when i was in school. the
    few i keep in touch with is about all i care to keep in touch with.
    (you can count on one hand how many that is!)

    my class wasn’t much bigger than yours. we had about 157. and i lived
    about 15 minutes from Pittsburgh, PA.

  4. erin

    Luckily I was in Europe last summer when my 10 year happened, so I didn’t have to come up with an excuse to not go. I have *no* desire to reconnect with the people I went to high school with. If we were real friends, we’re still friends now. There are 3 of them. The rest? Well, let’s just say there’s a reason I turn down so-called ‘friend requests’ on Facebook.

  5. Dan W

    This year marks 10 years from when our class graduated too. I’ve heard nothing of a reunion, and frankly that’s ok with me! I’d not likely go, since my hometown is near Ottawa, and I live in Vancouver now! I’m not wasting that sort of time and money to fly across the country! Facebook keeps me informed enough as is.

  6. julie

    I’ve only been to one of my reunions and was unimpressed. Except to say that the women had definitely aged much better than the men.

    I always thought an elementary school reunion would be so much cooler. Friends were easier to make in elementary school (for the most part) and many did not go to the same high school and I think it would be much more interesting to see what happened to them.

  7. gillian

    I guess I was lucky in that my reunion was pretty good. Though given the huge grad class (380 or so) I think only 50 or so people showed up, and it probably was all the people who were proud (or okay) of what they were up to. Hell, most of the people who organized the event didn’t show, supposedly because they were embarrassed. Which was so odd.

    But I went to the top-ranking high school in the city (at the time, dunno about now) in terms of grades and stuff, so school was all about overachieving, and people delivered, for the most part.

    I’m sorry your reunion sucked, though. I moved to a small town at 13 and was happy to hear that Mom was moving us back to Vancouver 8 months later. Didn’t want to end up one of the girls with multiple kids from multiple partners. Not that I would’ve, but I would’ve been bored waiting for graduation.

  8. April

    My 10 year reunion was last year and I chose not to attend. I graduated with 749 other people, most of whom I couldn’t have cared less ever seeing again. The few people who mattered, and that I still am in touch with, have scattered to the four winds since high school and weren’t returning for the reunion so I figured why bother. I did check out the Facebook group and subsequent photos from the evening and was not surprised to see that the only people who did attend for the most part were the stuck up rich snobs who thought they ran the school back in high school and can’t seem to get over themselves even now, 10 years later. Wow that wasn’t bitter at all..haha.

  9. Derek K. Miller

    Jeez, has no one had a good reunion experience?

    I found that my 10th high school reunion (in 1996) was okay, but not especially fascinating because nearly all the guys — I went to St. George’s, an all-boys private school in Vancouver — were still basically the same, and only a little further along in their lives. Many were either still in university or early in the job market. Some, like me, were married but nearly all, also like me then, had no kids yet.

    The 20th reunion a couple of years ago was a different matter. People had found careers and had children, and it was finally possible to see each other as grownups. Yeah, some of my fellow graduates were still annoying in the same ways that they had been back in 1986, but I also saw that a lot of us had grown into ourselves, becoming real people instead of the older teenagers we were at our 10th reunion.

    What I did notice at the 20th event, part of which was held at the school, is how isolated and inward-looking it is (and was) as an institution. While it certainly has outreach programs and encourages students to travel and be charitable and so on, it has all the perils of an elite education noted in a recent issue of The American Scholar (an elite magazine? fer shure!).

    Some of my co-graduates absorbed the sense of entitlement and arrogance and still exude it. Some (myself included, I hope) rejected or never embraced it and became, I think, better people. Maybe it’s an opposite problem to what you saw at your reunion, Jen: boys who were expected to become doctors and lawyers and movers and shakers who did just that, whether they really wanted to or not.

    I do recommend going to a later reunion — 20th or 25th or beyond — because these days people often don’t really get their lives going until our thirties.

Comments are closed.