In case you all didn’t know, I’m a cool 28 years-young which, for many of us, marks the time in our lives where we get to look back on the wonderful years we spent chained to our desks.
Your ten year reunion is often regarded as a right-of-passage of sorts, so much so that entire movie plot lines revolve around them (Romy and Michele, anyone?). They’re hyped up so much that they’re often a huge source of anxiety for some people. For many of us, not much has changed. Most of us still spend time in front of a desk every day, although most likely doing altogether different things from what we thought we would be doing.
I’m not afraid to admit the thought of attending my own reunion made me anxious to the point of nausea, but I couldn’t really explain why. I didn’t necessarily have a bad experience in high school, just not an incredibly amazing one. I was all about dance, so much so that I spent 99% of my life with my hair in a bun, with no makeup on, and a mouthful of braces that topped off the odd/awkward factor. My college experience easily trumped it, in terms of life experience. But, the more people I talked to about it, the less of an oddity I felt. There’s something loaded about reuniting with the people you spent your teenage years with. The boss lady assured me that there would be many, some married with children, that I would no longer recognize. When she attended her high school reunion, a classmate of hers already had five children, and some of the men had aged beyond recognition. No one in my graduating class had quite that many kids, in fact, I was surprised that we all pretty much looked the same, except with more makeup on and in clothes that we bought for ourselves.
Needless to say, I survived, anxiety and all. On top of that, I actually had a good time and enjoyed seeing everyone again. My good friend Devyn recently attended her high school reunion as well, and experienced the same roller-coaster of emotions. If I had tips for anyone apprehensive about attending their high school reunion, they would be quite simple:
- Like your first day of school, everyone is in the same, nervous boat. Reunions can be potentially awkward or uncomfortable, but being a friendly face in the crowd can make a huge difference.
- Don’t overthink it. That applies from everything to your outfit, who you’ll see there, or whether or not you’ll even attend.
- As cliché as it is, just be yourself. Don’t claim you invented post-its, and don’t max out your credit card on a new pair Louboutins. Wear something you’re comfortable in, and be ready to tell people what you actually do. They certainly will ask.
- Liquid courage might be necessary, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to be the person hunched in the bathroom all night or the mess on the dance floor that everyone remembers for the wrong reason.
- Find things to laugh at. You might be surprised at how little things have changed. Like this sign in lieu of a coat check at my reunion:
Stay classy, Class of 2005.
- Mingle! I chatted with a number of people throughout the evening. Don’t be afraid to just sit down at someone’s table and strike up a conversation. That being said…
- Think of it as practice for your conversational skills. Ask people about themselves! Share fun anecdotes about school, or things you’ve done lately. You’ll be surprised at the common memories you might bond over.
Lastly, all you need to do is just go. That’s it. Buy a ticket and march yourself out the door. You’ve probably come pretty far from who you once were. Get out there and show everyone.