The More Things Change…

Today marks ten years to the day since I gave my high school valedictory speech (yup, I’m patting myself on the back, wanna make something of it?), and this weekend I will hop my tail on a plane to Cleveland to celebrate at my class reunion. I have to say, I have mixed emotions.

What are those emotions, you ask? For one, I’m tired. I’ve been leading the planning efforts (shouts to my lovely committee!) to pull this darn thing together. It’s been a loooong year of conference calls and haggling with vendors, and I’m ready for it to be over. Then, I’m hopeful that it will go well. It would suck if we worked this hard and cats didn’t dance or participate in games. Fingers crossed over here. And I’m super-excited to see some old friends I haven’t even spoken to since graduation.

Plus I think I’m feeling a bit of what most of my classmates are probably feeling: A bit anxious. Will it be awkward? Will the people I wasn’t really friends with act like we were girls? Will I? Is it petty to wonder that? Will my ridiculously perceptive hubby call me on any fake niceties? Have I changed much? Have I not changed at all? Will my stylist get my hair exactly right tomorrow? Why do I ask myself so many questions? What happens if I start to answer myself?

And then it occurred that I’ve actually asked myself all these questions before—in high school. (Except the hubby one; I’m mature, but not that mature.) All these questions have me thinking that high school is really a microcosm of the real world, just with braces and awful haircuts. Think about it. You spend a ton of time with people you don’t really like, doing stuff you don’t really want to do (read: work). You try super-hard to get the attention of the one cute boy in your class (read: the club). You do everything you can to avoid the arbitrary rules imposed by Big Brother your parents (read: the U.S. government). You even have the same cliques on both sides of the graduation finish line, they just go by different names now:

Fast girls = Mommies
Goths = Investment bankers
Theater kids (girls) = Desperate housewives
Theater kids (guys) = Gays
Class officers = Workaholics
White boys who swear they’re Black = Hipsters
Young Teachers of America = Young Teachers of America
Assholes = Republicans

My only consolation? I got through it fine the first time around, so this should be a breeze!

How did your high school experience parallel real life? Going to your next reunion? Nervous? Let me know!


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Last 5 posts by kenrya

  • Dom

    Ugh! Reunions! I hope yours is fun. I just did my five year in November, and I must say it was just like high school. I spent most of the time hanging with friends by the food (café) and dancing drunkenly to classic rock (school dances). It was like having all the people I’ve avoided on the streets since 2003 in one place, and I was forced to talk to them.

    I am totally skipping the 10 year.

  • Tina

    Enjoy! My classmates are planning something, er, I think… I haven’t kept up with them on the planning tip but I “see” them on Facebook, so that’s enough LOL. I’m impressed that you are not only attending, but PLANNING this thing! There were like 33 people in my senior class…imagine.

  • Diane

    OK. I feel old. High school = reality? Oh my goodness no. Not for me.

    Gone are the days of cliques – if you don’t like me at work, you deal – not me. Your insecurities regarding the erosion of status quo did not happen because I came on board, but bringing me on board may assist the changes that have been in the works.

    My high school insecurities, heck, college as well, have not disappeared, but they have been relegated to the ‘identify and move forward’ portion of my brain. In other words, you don’t lose insecurity, but you certainly can work with it.

    I’m not a workaholic (though some at work may disagree) and being a class officer provided me with a sense that my ideas are worthy. That has never left me (much to the chagrin of some).

    What has really changed between then and now is my outlook. And priorities. And sense of what is important and what can be left undone. (Yes, it doesn’t all have to be done up nicely in a bow.) And it all boils down to being comfortable with your self.

    This has (confession time) taken decades to achieve. And I have not returned to high school, college, grad school reunions. Those who have followed me through the years, are still around. And there is a reason why those who have not, aren’t.

    I came across a photo of five of my college pals/sorority sisters (there was a core group of 11). They’d gathered in the Leatherstocking region. Four of them have not changed, including hairstyles. One had (and nicely too). I wondered why I wasn’t the sixth in the group photo for a nano second and then remembered how there is the one person who was/is the hub of the friendship wheel. She chose to disengage – different life direction (and interestingly enough, after my father’s passing). The photo depicts a variation of the old wheel. I’m glad they’re still a group. The photo recalled some great memories.

    It’s all good.

    Kenrya – enjoy the reunion and you’ll get them to dance…

  • TWO THINGS (w/a pre-apology, I’m tipsy at 221pm at JFK, waiting on a flight departing at 710pm. don’t ask. alcohol is the one thing that will get me through this 6 hour flight delay. Well, that, PLR & my bf’s netflix account. ANYway…)

    1) I was robbed of my 10 year reunion because, like in 1998 when I was rally commissioner (I was president in 10th grade but had to fight so hard that by 12th grade, I was like FUCK real responsibility and just made fun of cheerleaders as rally commish. I was surly even at 17), my class was wild disorganized and the class president who was supposed to organize it, bailed. Then the stand-in, a classmate with two kids, bailed. Then the reunion became a barbecue or a night at the local bowling alley or something? LOL…Oh, NorCal. Gotta love it. I didn’t go of course.

    2) I went to my bf’s 10 HS reunion last weekend and felt even MORE robbed of my own HS reunion, but it is what it is. It was nice to see someone enjoy their peers and see who’s fat and who’s now a hipster in Billyburg. Lol…

    and just to drive all this reunion ish home:

  • Van

    Late, I know. . .

    I hope you had a fabulous time at your reunion!! I am sure you and it was a hit.

    Valedictorian, that explains it all 🙂