My 20th high school reunion is this weekend, and I'm not there. I can honestly say that schedule-wise it just wasn't going to work and that's the main reason that I didn't go. But when I thought there was a chance I could go, there was a raging debate in my brain as to whether I really wanted to.
High school was not a pleasant time for me as a whole. I was as awkward physically as I ever was, I was ridiculously awkward socially, and I spent way too much time trying to impress people that wanted nothing to do with me (mostly of the female variety). As I've gotten older, I'm finding out that this experience is not necessarily unique to me. But I look back at high school with very sparse fond memories.
I think the case for just about everyone is that you develop confidence and comfort in your own skin as you get older--I'm as happy being me as I've ever been. But as soon as I received that first note about the soccer game that they were putting together for former players, all those old insecurities came back. I remembered being deserted at a party that my freshman team went to and I wound up walking a couple miles home after midnight because I was too embarrassed to tell my folks that I had been deserted. I remembered all the cracks about my horrible, horrible acne and the head that my body didn't quite grow into until later.
Sophomore year I found solace in the choir and theater world. Those were the places that kept me sane because a misfit just...fit a little bit better. There were still many cliques in those worlds where I really didn't fit in, but as a whole I could make that work. And it got me through. I really keep in touch with very few people from those years, but those that I do are important to me (the joys of Facebook!). Some have blogs that are a lot of fun to read if you're a parent or hope to be one someday.
But I look back at everything and a part of me definitely wonders if people have grown up and changed. I think that it would be interesting to see what happened to the people who picked on me and teased me mercilessly (the sparsely-attended ten-year reunion was a poor gauge in my mind). The writer in my finds it an interesting sociological experiment. And I wonder if the part of me that returns to all those old insecurities and all those bad memories could have some of those replaced by better impressions 20 years later. Maybe I'll find out next time around.