This weekend was my ten year high school reunion. They had a lot of events! At first it felt like a lot, but now that it is over I think it was probably well planned. I only went to two of the official events (and one unofficial), but I wish I could have made it to at least one more.
Friday night was a cocktail hour thing at my old high school. They had wine and snacks and the school was open for us to walk around. We had been told there would be some teachers there, but none came unfortunately. Saturday during the day I went to a bridal shower for an old friend, but missed out on the beach day for the reunion where people had their kids. Saturday night I went bar hopping.
I am not sure where I am going with this post. I don't really want to just recount the reunion but my thoughts on it are not fully formed either, and I am not sure they ever will be. So bear with me.
There were people from my high school class I wanted to see again - friends I had lost contact with but always have liked and wanted to know what they are doing, how they are, maybe reconnect and keep in touch better. I did get to do this with two or three people, and they are just as fun and friendly as I remember. One of them said a few shocking things for me though. She basically said that she was miserable in middle school and she described how horrible her feelings about herself were back then. I had no idea at all. From my perspective she was always smart, friendly, creative - the kind of friend that when you go to their house you always do something new and interesting that you would not have thought of. I told her this. I hope the weekend helped her put any bad feelings about her school experience behind her. It just sort of reminded me that you never really know what another person is experiencing.
There were people that I wanted to see again that I have kept in touch, but don't see often. I saw a couple of these people. One of them was incredibly negative about the whole reunion experience, and it really made me regret wanting to see her and encouraging her to come out! The funniest part was after the bar hop was over, during which she mostly complained about her drinks and said everyone there hated her, she posted on facebook saying that was all positive about the reunion. This reminded me (actually a repeat topic for the weekend), that people don't necessarily represent themselves honestly online.
There were people that I really was neutral on seeing that I had sort of been friends with in high school, but never that close and maybe never really connected with or even had some unspoken issues with. I saw a few of these people. All of them were pretty much exactly the same towards me, with the same little quirks that I remembered in them that made them prone to exclusion or drama, or whatever.
There were people that I did not think it would make a difference to see, that I did not hang out with in high school and I did not think they would really pay attention to me at the reunion. This was somewhat true - though everyone exchanged the obligatory small talk catch up with you greetings there was lots of people where this was all, and that was fine. Although I was surprised how many people knew a lot via facebook and/or complimented me on all the adorable pictures of Benjamin! Always nice to hear as a mom and a reminder that just because you don't see someone's posts on facebook does not mean they don't see yours (all are my facebook friends, but I dont see their stuff).
There was one or two people I absolutely did not want to see. Bullies (reformed bullies really...) Of course they were there. But such is life. It was more annoying than anything.
The reunion made me think about who I was in high school, who I am now, and how I want to relate to people. High school was about defining ourselves as people, fighting for our space in the world (at least in our little worlds). That is really what cliques are about in high school, isn't it? Forming our non-familial tribes in modern society in the little microcausism that is high school. Then we are released into a larger world and more variety begins. Some people never really escape that high school way of thinking, but most people I think do. Most people realize that things are more complicated than we thought in high school, that we are smaller, the world is bigger, and our cliques mean nothing when compared to it all. So here is what I was really thinking about this weekend... that life is better when you are open to other people. I am having trouble wording this in a way that does not sound incredibly cheesy. I saw people at the reunion who were stuck in the high school mindset - the idea that some of those people in the room were somehow against them. They obviously give themeselves too much importance. Maybe when we were in high school there was an us vs them between groups, but now we are all from the same place, and there is no benefit of holding grudges or being negative, while there are a million benefits of engaging in conversations, rebuilding and forming connections, and generally just being friendly to people.
There it is. The point. Life is better when you make an effort to be friendly to people, even people who you might have a less than great history with.