If You Got The Chance To Go Back, Would You?

High school.

Hundreds of movies have been made about the in crowd, the nerds, and the mean girls.  John Hughes made millions showcasing Molly Ringwald in such classics as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and my personal favorite, The Breakfast Club.

Don’t you… forget about me.

There was something magical to be found once a person became a freshman.  As a kid, I assumed my experience would be on the same lines of Saved By the Bell and Beverly Hills, 90210.

It was anything but.

I never exactly felt like I fit in. I know, big shocker right, a teenager who felt out-of-place.  I didn’t play sports or run the student government.  My activities included Key Club, yearbook staff (I still have nightmares about missed deadlines), and an academic program called Upward Bound.  To state the obvious, I was not cool.

Proof of my amazing uncool factor. Even I was trying to hide. (Freshman year)

When I thought it would be funny to get on the Homecoming Court ballot, the reaction from my peers was cruel with comments ranging from “How did you get nominated?” and “Don’t count on my vote.”  Needless to say, I wasn’t crowned princess and though I put up an I-don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-it, I was hurt that people didn’t like me enough to vote for me and that something I had thought meant so little, truly meant more to me than I realized.

When I moved away to attend college, I didn’t look back.  I was eager to get away from the town that was too small for my dreams and people who never cared for me in the first place.  It was time to start new and begin to grow into the person I was destined to be. I bid my teachers and friends adieu and got the heck out of there the minute the band finished playing “Pomp and Circumstance.”  In fact, it might have been before the song ended.

It has been over nine years since I have graduated from high school.  Nine years since I danced at prom, walked the line at commencement, signed a yearbook, and given thanks for every day that has passed that doesn’t involve me racing up a hill to get to chemistry class.  To say I’ve moved on from the small school in the small town is an understatement.

And then Facebook brought everything back.

A few days ago, I was invited to my high school’s Class of 2003 group.  With a year before our tenth anniversary of finishing up with school, planning for the reunion is already underway and dozens of former classmates were excitedly talking about venues and fundraisers to make the party one to remember.

I refrained from adding my input.

I have never considered going to an event to see a bunch of people I chose not to stay in contact with.  Sure, there are some I actually would like to have a “what have you been up to?” chat, but for the most part, no thank you.  I’ve always looked forward in my life.  The past is the past and while there are some events that I have dwelled on, for the most part, I don’t look back.

Don’t get me wrong, I love looking through my yearbooks—after all, I spent many hours working on them—and remembering good times, but I don’t need to spend a whole evening recalling Mrs. B’s marker funerals, Mr. H’s transition into Roberta before his eventual retirement, or affairs of members of my graduating class and a certain faculty member—all true, might I add.  There’s a difference between dipping a toe in the past and jumping headfirst into your memories.  Besides, Facebook makes it really easy to check up on anyone from the past and see what their lives have become.

Am I just being an old fuddy duddy?

To anyone out there who has attended a reunion, how did it go?  And if anyone skipped it, did you regret it?  I would love to hear your stories.  As for my tenth reunion, I still have a year to decide, but at this stage in the game, I think I’ll be sitting this one out.

Besides, there’s always the twentieth.

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7 thoughts on “If You Got The Chance To Go Back, Would You?

  1. Liz says:

    You probably already know this because I probably whined to you about it… but I helped plan our 10 year reunion. Not only that, I am the treasurer of our senior class.

    The worst part is that our little group of 7 planners spent quite a few free hours planning a great event and then nobody signed up for it. Apparently people thought that $35/person was too much to spend on an evening full of reminiscing, and Facebook allows everyone to check in to see what classmates are up to since graduating so they don’t feel the need to speak face to face. We ended up cancelling the reunion and lost a $1000 deposit.

    Looking back I’m a little disappointed in our class for not making an effort, but I’m also slightly relieved that I didn’t have to small talk with people who I really have no interest in talking to ever again. The people who I do “stay in touch” with on Facebook actually want to get together occasionally, grab lunch or form co-ed sports leagues. Many of those people I was not even that close with in high school, but over the years we have all grown up and, without the popularity hierarchy, are able to find those that we actually share common interests with.

    If you do decide to go, just think… it may be like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and that guy who you totally did not like but who had a huge crush on you is now uber-rich and hot! 😉 One thing I can guarantee is that most people have changed. Most people have grown up and realized that high school was not as important as it once seemed. Some of the “popular” kids are still where they were, acting how they used to, and will seem laughable. Some of the “outcasts” will be well on their way to success. As long as you have a good showing, I assure you it will be…. what is the word… INTERESTING. 🙂

    • Jessica says:

      Sorry to hear about the canceled reunion, Liz. I know how much work you put into it and how much you were looking forward to the event. It almost sounds like a blessing in disguise… you got out of having to do the dreaded small talk and still reconnected with people that interest you.

      Leave it to you to bring up “Romy and Michele!” 😀 This is why I love you to pieces!!!!

  2. L says:

    I think the funny thing about high school is that it really is just a training ground for real life. Bullies still exists when you’re an adult, we are still self-conscious and feel uncool sometimes… the difference is that we eventually gain a little perspective. It’s NOT the end of the world anymore if someone doesn’t like you, or if you don’t feel like you quite fit in. I wouldn’t wear tank tops or shorts in high school because I thought I was fat. I’m 25 lbs heavier now and rock the minis and the sleeveless shirts and dresses. This year is my 10 year high school “reunion” which I will be missing because I’ll be out of town. It’s being organized by one of my good friends and the former “mean girl” of my school. We outgrew the cliques and the labels or popularity to realize we have a lot in common and really value each others’ opinion.

    But in short… yes… high school movies (especially from the 80s) rock!

    • Jessica says:

      You are so right, Laura! I never thought of high school as a training ground, but it absolutely is. It is the place where you learn how to interact with a wide variety of people and the years away from it can truly give us the perspective we need.

      I applaud you for gaining confidence and learning to accept the beautiful person you are. And the fact that you were able to become good friends with a former “mean girl” is commendable. I guess there really is something to the old adage “older and wiser.” 😉

  3. A Surprise Called Life says:

    My ten year high school reunion is also coming up next year, but you know what, it isn’t going to be full of surprises if facebook is anything to go by. I’ll probably go to just reminisce with friends over the good times, but will definitely keep looking forward and not dwell on the many
    not so fabulous moments of my teen years!
    P.S. I always envisaged my high school years looking like a scene out of “Saved By The Bell’ or ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ also… how wrong I was : )

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