How much does 10 years really change a person? I just had the pleasure of attending my 10-year high school reunion, and while life situations have changed in a number of ways, the people — have not.
I was quiet and awkward in high school, but I benefited from a close friend group and participation in a handful of engaging extracurriculars. I knew from the issuance of the first Facebook invitation that the 10-year reunion was something that I would attend (even though the prospect made me nervous). Dates around Thanksgiving and New Year’s were considered over half a year in advance by the two students who were elected (over a decade ago) to coordinate the event.
Many were in favor of the Thanksgiving option as they were already planning to return home during this time. However, a New Year’s date prevailed. The coordinating team tirelessly looked into bar options, collected fees for the deposits, and continued to communicate updates to us all (<< it’s a thankless job… or it mostly was until I publicly posted a Facebook thank you to our reunion group, which garnered 9 likes and one love 😉 ).
I was a ball of stress driving to the reunion (80% of this is due to the fact that I am an out-of-practice driver, who cowers behind the wheel any time after sunset). However, after parking in the Rite Aid lot (idk how others managed street parking— the situation was tight!), I stewed in nerves that are pretty uncommon for me nowadays. I procrastinated by googling whether one can get towed for parking in a store parking lot and then not going to the store (Internet consensus— just because you can do something, it does not mean that you should…). To mitigate my guilt and procrastinate further, I walked into Rite Aid and purchased a small bottle of water. This short detour surprisingly paid off in easing my nerves, as the person behind the counter was clearly a bored teen too glued to his phone to give a hoot about anything beyond his screen, let alone my pathetic parking dilemma.
I rode the elevator up the five floors to the rooftop bar and hung up my coat on the sparsely occupied rack. To turn the corner and walk into the bar or ride the elevator back down and vamoose — that was the question. So, I went in—obviously—and to my pleasant surprise, a few people from my old friend group were standing right by the entrance — thank god! Bodies change (we were literal kids in high school after all) but most everyone’s face was the same (or more obscured by facial hair).
Talking to Barry, whom I’ve known since eight grade was completely natural — same energy and cadence, just a change in topics. Conversing with the others was just as easy, if not even more so. When I talked to Katie, I was reminded of her frequent changes of topic during conversation. Similarly, talking to Sammy reminded me of how soft spoken she had always been (this point is even more apparent now in the loudness of the bar).
We talked about jobs, new residences, romantic situations and raised all the other I—haven’t-since-you-in-a-literal-decade conversation topics. Then, we reminisced about the quirks of our education, for example, the one-of-a-kind name that our high school replaced with “home room” and the extra time after 10th period on select Fridays in middle school for special activities.
The room was divided into little groups with people seldom moving from one pod to another — reminiscent of the high school cafeteria to say the least. I only talked to my friends, close-ish acquaintances and then anyone who bothered to approach me (yes, I am an introvert). Many were still living in our hometown (which makes sense), while others were down south, New York, and a few other parts. Time flew and I surprised myself by sticking around to near the very end of the engagement.
I’m happy that I attended my 10-year high school reunion. Even more so, I’m glad my friends were in attendance, because (and, yeah, this is about to become hella cliche) what is any institution without the people (projectile vomit).
I hope to attend the 20-year anniversary (because turning over a new leaf and keeping in touch with people is a hassle that I am just not ready to undertake).
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