From the year you graduate, you get invites for high school and college reunions every five years. Do you go? Or not? High school and college encompass some of the most formative years of our lives, from our early teens through our early twenties. We do a lot of changing and growing during those years, as well as experimenting. For some, the high school or college years are filled with memories of good times, jokes, friends, and adventures. Other people didn’t have such a good time, especially in high school. If you didn’t fit in or have many friends or got bullied, high school memories might be something you rarely want to think of.
If you happen to be coming up on one of the “big” years after graduation, you might be thinking about whether you want to go to the reunion or not. It’s easy to rattle off reasons not to go: not having the time or money to travel, feeling embarrassed about how your life turned out, or not having a strong connection to your old school or friends from that time. Not every school is holding a reunion this year, because of continuing concerns about COVID-19 or local restrictions on large gatherings. Maybe a Zoom meeting doesn’t appeal to you, especially after so many of them over the past year.
On the other hand, reunions can be lots of fun. Social media has made it a whole lot easier to keep in touch or re-establish contact with people from our pasts. Often the organizers of the reunion will set up a Facebook Page so people can see the schedule of events, RSVP, and reconnect. This can mean that going to a reunion will really be reuniting with people you see and chat with online. Even if it’s a virtual reunion, spending time together can cement these connections and help the friendships grow.
It’s amazing how people change and grow over the years. Maybe you didn’t feel particularly close to your classmates when you graduated. However, life has a way of making people grow up, and you could very well find new friends at your reunion. It’s worth at least considering going. At the very least, you’ll find people who are in a similar place in life. Most people have married and had kids. You can talk about struggles with teenagers, your hopes for grandkids, or how retirement is going.
Some people go to reunions hoping to reconnect with an old crush. Statistically, it’s very likely that if you’ve lost your spouse or been through a divorce, a fair number of your old classmates will have done so as well. Having a shared experience like high school or college can be a jumping off place for a deeper relationship.
In our mobile world, we often meet our spouses or significant others far from where we grew up. Even if they meet your family and see the town where you lived, it can be revealing if they come with you to a high school reunion in your hometown. It can shine a new light on dynamics and structures that are harder to observe with just family. For a college reunion, you can show your spouse the campus, the library, where you lived, and if you’re lucky, some of your favorite cafes and other fun places. It’s a walk down memory lane for you and an opportunity for illumination for them.
Whether you choose to go to your reunion or stay away, thinking over old times can stir up a lot of memories and emotions, both positive and negative. Take time to reflect on them and remember how far you’ve come.
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