Yesterday, my husband and I attended his 50th high school reunion. It was a great evening, and a wonderful weekend back in the area where he grew up. Richard enjoyed catching up with old friends and classmates. I loved getting extra snippets of his life before we met (way before we met)! It really was that simple.
Then, when preparing to write this post, and playing around with potential titles, I begin to type “should you go….” into my search engine. Instantly the words “to your high school reunion” appeared on my screen to complete the sentence. How weird! I had never previously made any similar searches on my computer. Besides, I could think of several sentences that start with “Should I attend…” – most of them having nothing at all to do with school reunions.
Since I had attended my husband’s reunion, not my own, I then made my search more specific. And, you guessed it, there were also numerous posts about attending (or not attending) your spouse’s high school reunion.
Scanning through these articles, I was struck with one big takeaway: DRAMA! The articles about attending your own reunion tended to focus on anxiety, insecurity, apathy and comparing yourself to others. The articles dealing with spousal attendance invariably centered on boredom (and one spouse fearing they would need to ‘babysit’ the other all evening).
Good thing I hadn’t done this search before attending the reunion. Subconsciously, the results may have caused me to overthink my attendance and dampen a truly wonderful night.
Respectively, in defense of high school reunions, here are my top twelve reasons for attending yours (or your spouse’s):
Reason #12: Sometimes it’s nice to visit the past (as long as you don’t get stuck there).
Reason #11: You can reconnect with old friends and classmates that were a significant part of your formative years. In 1966 (or 1976 or 1986 for that matter) the World Wide Web and social media were not yet invented, and the first major commercial Internet Service Providers were not yet in existence. Contact with former classmates was much more difficult to maintain.
Reason #10: For those connections that did survive into the age of social media, not everything (and/or everyone) is on Facebook. Seriously! Who knew?
Reason #9: Experience your own, real-life version of “Where Are They Now?” This not only satisfies curiosity but more often than not, makes some classmates more ‘real’ and ‘relatable’ than they seemed in high school (aka the clear-skinned prom queen or star quarterback went on to face life’s up and downs, just like you and me).
Reason #8: Individuals and teams took the initiative, and the time, to make this event happen. If you can attend, why not support their efforts–and pay some good karma forward?
Reason #7: If there is something holding you back (other than timing, distance or plane tickets), there is no better way to let go of those imprisoning teenage voices than to let them know that they no longer define you.
Reason #6: Camera phones (and the like) were not yet invented…so there is much less evidence of awkward times (green one-piece gym strip anyone?) Although I hate to admit it, such pics may have been fun for the spouses to see!
Reason #5: There is no better excuse for forgetting a name–or conveniently forgetting a cringe-worthy antidote–than a 50-year reunion (or being the spouse).
Reason #4: Two words: ‘new shoes’. Why turn down a great excuse to buy yourself a new pair. And if new shoes aren’t your thing, why miss the chance to mix things up, get out of your yoga pants and have a guilt-free glass of wine (or two, or three…).
Reason #3: Remember how earth-shatteringly important everything seemed in high school? Well some things, especially perspective, often do improve with age. There is nothing like a high school reunion to help us realize this.
Reason #2: If attending your spouse’s reunion, you can play ‘Where’s Waldo?’, or in this case, ‘Where’s Richard?’ with the old photos. Use the clue below to spot Richard in the picture featured above.
Reason #1: As comedian/actress/producer Lucille Ball mused: I’d rather regret the things I have done than the things that I haven’t.
P.S. Don’t feel that you need to lose twenty pounds, embellish your CV…or update your partner in order to attend your reunion. Chances are you’ll have a great time simply by showing up with the confidence of being just who you are. If your experience is similar to ours, you’ll find everyone to be very down to earth (and very welcoming to spouses)!
Someone may be hoping to see you there!