I attended my 30 year high school reunion last weekend. I had a great time and I was pleased to call this miscellaneous group of people my classmates. We have a shared history and a common bond that has shaped us into who we are today.
I was not nervous to attend. I had a good high school experience. I was not in the most popular crowd, but I was not unpopular. I had leadership roles in sports, the student government, and a service club. I went to college and I honestly didn’t think that much about my high school experience until recently – when the reunion was approaching.
In high school, the goal is usually to blend in – to try and be as homogenous as possible. But 30 years later, I see how different everyone has become and that’s what makes them interesting. Our class has produced a political consultant, an actor, a photographer, an architect, a stay at home mom. Some classmates have families, some have embraced their homosexuality, some are married, some are divorced – and some can lay claim to all of the above!
I was surprised and touched by the candor of several of my classmates. I didn’t know what some of them were going through in high school. I had no idea of the demons that haunted them, their troubled home life. At the time, I was living in my teenaged bubble – concerned about my love life, my academics, my sports. Typical teenager .. me, me, me!
I think about my own kids. I have a daughter who is a freshman in college and a son who is a sophomore in high school. I shared with them my experience at the reunion in hopes that they will be more aware of the shy kids and the outcasts – and to also know that almost everyone is insecure in high school. Hopefully when they attend their reunions, people will remember them as the nice kid who said hello to them in the hallway or included them in a group. These are, after all, the kids that they will be linked with forever.