My high school reunion is this weekend.
I’ve been lying low, flying under the radar. I’ve joined the Facebook group, read the posts, and looked at the pictures, but I have neither commented nor responded (or even decided) if I’m actually going. I didn’t go to the first one (in truth, I didn’t even hear about it), and I only hear rumors about the second.
A lot of things have happened since I last saw many of the people I graduated with. To put it into perspective as to how long it’s been, these are some of the things that were happening in the world the year we graduated:
The Jamaican Bobsled Team Debuted at The Calgary Winter Olympics
2 1/2 Years after the Challenger tragedy the Space Shuttle Discovery was launched
4 years after the disease was recognized, the 1st World Aids Day was held
The President we had (and the one that was voted in that year)
Ben Johnson won gold in Seoul. Three days later he was stripped of his medal, and Olympic record, after testing positive for steroids. Carl Lewis was awarded the gold medal and Olympic record.
Pan Am flight 103 was bombed while flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 243 passengers and 16 crew members.
Eli Lilly began marketing Prozac in January, annual sales hit $350 million within a year ( #HowIShouldHaveInvestedMyTacoBellEarnings)
Crack cocaine became a thing (is it even still a thing?)
Residents of super-ultra-rural areas of California & Nevada were relieved to finally know that they weren’t imaging those “hovering crafts” they saw in the night sky. The US Government finally unveiled the B2 Bomber.
Stephen Hawking released A Brief History of Time
So, as you can see, we left our glory years of high school and walked into the hope and promise the late 80’s had to offer. And that’s the last time I saw many of my classmates.
With the invention of Facebook I’ve managed to connect with a few of them. If nothing else, we are “Facebook Friends” and will occasionally Like or comment on each others posts. In all honesty though, our community was on the small side and we tended to hang out with kids in the classes ahead of and behind us. At various points we ended up in different districts and I can’t remember exactly if my Facebook friends are high school friends, junior high school– or even elementary school!– ones. This reunion will actually be a combination of the graduating class of three (!) local high schools.
So, if it’s been so long why am I so anxiety ridden about going and seeing everyone? Aren’t I excited at the chance?
Well, I have reasons to be anxious, and I think I may not be alone (really, I can’t be alone, can I?).
- I’m anxiety-ridden by nature. I don’t do well in large groups or around people I’m not comfortable with (I actually don’t even do well around the people I see regularly and do feel comfortable with).
- I’m not a social creature. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not antisocial. I’m just a person who is comfortable and content in my own quiet world. I never viewed myself as a highly social person. I was a side-kick to my friend, Lysa. Now she should have a Doctorate in Social Interactions. She’s good with people. She’s confident in groups and she remembers everyone and most of the things that happened to, with and around everyone we hung out with. I was pretty much the grumpy (occasionally drunken) sidekick.
- I have insecurities. Lots of them. At the top of the list is the fact that I’ve gained weight (a lot!). I’m sure there are plenty of us who have gained weight as we aged, and I think they all still look great, but I can’t give myself that consideration.
- I am no less socially awkward now than I was back then. Maybe even more so now (see #3).
- I am horrible at recalling names. I generally remember a face, but can’t always pair it with the proper name (see #4-Socially Awkward).
- Sometimes my facial recognition skills fail me. Two days ago I had a conversation with a junior high school classmate. I’d remember her face anywhere!! She looked exactly the same, a fact a marveled at as I walked away. How, after all these years can she still look exactly the same as the last time I saw her? The answer came as I recalled the confusion in her eyes (though she was sweetly trying to play the whole thing off) and pieced together the reality. I’d been speaking to her daughter!!!! A true Doppelgänger, but not who I thought (see #4-Socially Awkward).
While it may seem like I’ve been obsessing over the negative (and maybe I have) I’ve also tried to come up with reasons that I should go to my high school reunion. I’ve worked long and hard to come up with a list of things I can be proud of, reasons that I can show my up to my high school reunion without shame. Here are the highlights:
- During all the years since graduation I haven’t been featured in The Blotter (our local who’s-who of law enforcement attention).
- I’ve never been forced to flee from an angry mob in a foreign country.
- My family has never had to arrange my release from a third-world prison.
- I’ve never been the awkward subject of a photo that’s gone viral and spawned thousands of memes.
- I haven’t bilked any charities for millions and had to flee to the islands.
- I haven’t hacked into any multi-national corporations, released inflammatory e-mails, or tried to influence elections.
- My personal nuclear program abides by all limitations imposed by the UN.
- I’ve never been the subject of a Dateline or 20/20 investigation.
All in all, a pretty good track record, in my opinion. So I may do it. I may face my fears and step into a room full of people I haven’t seen in *information redacted to protect the innocent and vain* years.
But, until then, please enjoy a few more images from our world during the year of our graduation: