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20-year High School Reunion -- should I go?(18 posts)

20-year High School Reunion -- should I go?mr_spin
Aug 19, 2002 8:57 AM
I just got an invite for my high school reunion. I guess I am officially old now.

I don't want to go.

High school was a very mixed experience for me. The first years were horrible, the last years were okay. In the social structure, I ended up somewhere in the middle class. I had some good friends and some good times, but they friendships changed and faded away during college. I haven't kept in touch with anyone. I moved away, in fact.

I am a totally different person now in so many ways, and I am naturally curious as to how my classmates have changed. For one thing, I was no athelete of any kind then, and now thanks to cycling, I am 30 pounds lighter. (gasp!)

One thing is that I'm single. That doesn't bother me, but I wonder if I will be the only single person there.

Did you go to your reunion? What were your experiences? Did everyone get fat and jaded? Any surprises? Whatever happened to that guy or girl you were in love with but wouldn't talk to you?

Should I go?
Well, I'm not that old,TJeanloz
Aug 19, 2002 9:16 AM
I'm not that old, but I have been to two reunions and they were both better than expected. It's interesting, you go in, thinking that you're going to see all of your old friends, pick on all the people you used to pick on, and things will be just like high school all over again. It doesn't really work like that. There isn't a whole lot of childish "I'm not talking to so-and-so"; everybody tends to be pretty secure in their lives, and it's nice to talk to people who shared a common experience with you- even if you never said a word to them in high school. The surprise I had was how nice everybody was to everybody else- considering that we were downright cruel when we were in school together. Especially if there isn't serious travel involved, I think it's worth going; what have you got to lose?
Aug 19, 2002 9:17 AM
Why not??

I went to mine. First of all, there was no lost-love since I went to an all boys catholic high school. But it was fun to see how much everyone had changed. There were several former jocks (you know - the football/basketball lettermen type) who had gotten really fat. I mean bowling ball fat. Such a shame to have your life peak at age 18!

You will enjoy your weight loss and the reactions you get from it. I am about the same weight as I was in high school - OK - its in different places (more muscle but a little more fat too). It was fun to see who had lost all of their hair, who was divorced, who turned out to be gay (a few surprise there!). There was a very shy, very heavy guy in our class who is now about 150lbs with a gorgeous wife. Go figure? There were a few single guys, a few divorced, most still married. I had fun, my wife was bored to death.
re: 20-year High School Reunion -- should I go?DougSloan
Aug 19, 2002 9:35 AM
I went to my 10, but couldn't go to my 20. I did go to my wife's 20.

Things change a lot from high school. Here are some of my observations:

1. The people who were so "cool" in high school largely turn out to be totally un-noteworthy. The geeks usually prevail. No doubt the gorgeous teenager you had a huge crush on now is 50 pounds over weight, smokes, lives in a trailer park, has 6 kids, and is on the 3rd marriage.

2. Lots of guys go bald, even by 10 years.

3. Many people have been married, divorced, married again, etc. Almost everyone has kids. Some have grown kids by 20 years. People with kids -- that's all they talk about (as I'm learning now). You won't be the only single guy there.

4. You'll probably end up hanging out with the same people and having the same discussions you did in high school.

5. Some get fat, some skinnier. I've been shocked both ways.

6. Spouses hate reunions. Better for them not to go; not a problem for you, though.

Go and have fun. Just keep your expectations low.

20's the best one, I think--I'd goSilverback
Aug 19, 2002 10:37 AM
At the 10-year, that high school thing hadn't quite gone away--there were still people obsessed with who was cool and who wasn't, all that crap. I'd moved away a couple of years after graduation, so it was nice to see a few people, but I left early.
The 20 was completely different. People are pushing 40, more or less adults, established in their lives, and pretty much everybody realized that what they'd done the last 20 years was more important than what they did with the first 18.
I went with my newish wife (first marriage; I wasn't in any hurry) and had a good time. People I used to admire were impressed that I'd moved across the country and done some interesting stuff, while they'd stayed home and gotten married and fallen into being their parents. I even chatted with the ex-head cheerleader, who wouldn't even notice me 20 years before, and didn't stammer!
You may find some surprises, too. It's a cliche how the beautiful get fat and the geeky are transformed, but it does happen. Four of my classmates (two couples) met again at the 20-year reunion and eventually married, and a guy I used to screw around with instead of going to geometry class is a pretty famous architect living in Hawaii.
Why not?Len J
Aug 19, 2002 7:00 PM
One of the amazing things to notice is the different times in peoples lives that they "peak".

Some are never better than they were in High School, Some peak in college, some don't blossom until they are well into their 30's, some are still growing and learning when their in their 80"s.

I've been to both my 25th from HS & 25th from College (Yea, I'm that damn old!) and it always amazes me how many people are the same & how many are different.

I bet you find one person that is really a pleasant surprise, you just have to leave your preconceptions at the door.

Have fun

I can tell you why notColnagoFE
Aug 20, 2002 5:47 AM
My 20th reunion is approching and I can't think of one person I'd actually care to see from my graduating class. I went to a small school in Iowa and had a graduating class of about 40. I hated high school. Hated the people, hated the teachers. Why would I want to relive that? I was so happy to get out of that town.
You get what you expect.Len J
Aug 20, 2002 6:12 AM
People change, who knows, that dorky, nerdy, introvert that you barely noticed, that everyone was sure was weird, may have grown into an interesting individual who has streched far beyond that sleepy Iowa town. But I guess you'll never know if you don't go back & look.

Some people are running away, some people are running towards.

In my experience Hate says more about the one hating than the one hated. What was it about where you were in your life in HS that made it so hateful?

hate may be too strong of a word.ColnagoFE
Aug 20, 2002 7:23 AM
i've never been one to have lots of friends--just a few close friends that i've kept for years. everyone that i care to see from high school i already do. and with a graduating class of 40 you pretty much know how the majority of them turned out if you visit once in a while. hate may be too strong of a word, but let's just say that high school was not the 'best years of my life'. nothing that bad happened. mainly boredom and a being around a bunch of people i didn't really care for or share interests with. if you didn't play football, basketball and baseball and/or drink massive amounts of beer every weekend you were pretty much ignored.
I hear ya.Len J
Aug 20, 2002 8:28 AM
I went to an intercity, Ghetto High School where graduating was a hugh accomplishment. Succeeding was defined as doing better than your parents, but not too much better or you were "Uppity". Out of 300 graduates from HS 10 went on to college directly from High School. I too didn't have much in common with many of my classmates and HS years were (& are) a time of great pain in my life. My reflex has always been to ignore & forget as much of this time as possible.

That being said, I did go back to my 25th reunion, out of more curiosity than anything. I ended up spending the night talking to 3 people that I hardly remembered from high school. It turned out that these 3 had weathered some horrific storms in their lives with a grace & a courage that I found inspiring. We ended up going to a diner & talking all night. We've stayed close the last 4 + years and I consider them some of the safest people in my life. It turned out to be quite a gift.

I can't imagine graduating with a class small enough that "you pretty much know how the majority of them turned out if you visit once in a while". I was speaking from my experience, not yours.

High school. I regret having gone. : ) nmSintesi
Aug 20, 2002 12:24 PM
Aug 20, 2002 6:52 AM
Mine is in November, and I wouldn't miss it.

You won't be the only single person, and there will be divorced people, gay people, celibate clergy (ok, maybe) and a whole host of in-betweens.

Obviously, I haven't been to my 20th (quite yet) but went to my 10th and can assure you that many of the old social stratifications start to fade... old homecoming kings (or queens) may weigh 200 lbs ... people respect different kinds of successes than they did when they were 16... and everyone has matured. Ok, almost everyone.
You should go! Take party favors...rwbadley
Aug 20, 2002 9:20 PM
A friend gave me the advice to take balloons to my 20th. I picked up some of the long ones that are used to make the animals etc. Be sure to get the ones that blow up easy, some are kinda tough... I unloaded a bunch in various places after the shindig had warmed up a bit. You should have seen the fun it created.

I also had a couple of small bottles of high grade whiskey. This was also a blast. The folks that enjoy a little snort will really dig it.

There are other things you can do. Be creative, and don't make it hard. The easy stuff can't go wrong, and gets a laugh every time. Hula Hoops, little frisbees, Relax & have fun,

You must go.Starliner
Aug 20, 2002 9:42 PM
You already sound like you want to go, but need to clear away some butterflies from your system which are making you uncomfortable. It seems you've progressed since then in body at least, so take the event as an opportunity to sweep away any lingering body issues that may have been left unresolved for you since you graduated. People are going to see you in a new light, so get prepared to bask in it.

My crystal ball also tells me you're going to get better acquainted with a certain female there, so be prepared for the unexpected in a good way.

Keep your chin up, your heart open, stay calm, and you'll end up being glad you went.
Give me hint?mr_spin
Aug 22, 2002 7:50 AM
Who is the certain female? I have to know!
If you want to know,Starliner
Aug 22, 2002 9:11 AM
then you'll simply have to go. Be patient and let things happen.
Yes, go!Mike P
Aug 21, 2002 3:29 AM
I went to mine last year and I am glad I went. It wasn't a party like back in the old days but it was fun.

I would say I recognized and remembered the names of around 50% of my classmates. Another 25% looked familiar but I could not remember a name. The remaining 25%. . . I found myself wondering who the hell that is. Out of that last group, after finding out who each was, I remembered some but there were 10 or so people I still don't believe graduated with the class.

Some will be very drunk and it will be funny. Some of the maried folks will be in trouble once the "remember the time. . . " stories start flying. There will be other single people there. What's the divorce rate?

Anyway, it was fun. Go!

Aug 21, 2002 6:13 AM
I went to my 20th HS reunion six years ago, but did not go to the 25th last year. I also went to my 20th college reunion last year. I have gone to all of my law school reunions (5, 10 and 15). Here are my thoughts:

1. The best reunions have been those at which at least a few of my close friends were present. The reason that I did not go to my HS 25th was that there were very few people at my 20th that I wanted to see (and many that I did not want to see) and I was pretty sure that the people I wanted to see would not be at the 25th. As the deadline approaches for a commitment, I would check with the organizers to see who is coming. Or, I would try to contact a few people that you care about (the organizers should be able to tell you where they are -- they have a vested interest in giving you the information if you can convince additional people to attend). If none of the people you really cared about are coming, I would not go -- you will feel like a stranger at a cocktail party that does not know anyone.

2. No spouse is a plus. My wife went to a few early reunions with me (and I went to some of hers). It is extremely boring to be a spouse at a reunion. My HS no longer invites spouses to reunions because so few wanted to some (I went to an all boys HS so this is easier than at a coed school). My wife no longer goes to reunions and most of my friends no longer bring theirs. You will not be the only person at the event without a spouse.

3. If you go, look at your yearbook before you go. Even though many people will look very different, it will help to refresh your memory of names, events, etc. It also may help when the bozo that refuses to wear a name tag comes up to you.

4. Wear your nametag. Also, do not be hurt when people you remember well do not remember you as well (this goes both ways -- try to fake it when someone of whom you have little recollection treats you as a long lost friend). If there are no nametags, introduce yourself to people -- they may not recognize you and it prompts them to say who they are.

5. Don't be reluctant to speak to people that you did not know too well. There are some law school classmates that I did not know well when we were in school, that I have come to know and like from reunions (if you go to a few reunions for the same school, you will find that there are regulars that attend religiously at five year intervals).