After stepping off the graduation stage, whether goth, jock or class clown, one thing’s for sure: most of us get to live a lot more life. Comparing ambition, failure, success…or cutting this class, too. — BadWitch
Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — My 20th high school reunion is coming up and I’m worrying about going. I haven’t done anything, nothing’s changed for me, and I know all these people will be far along and successful. I guess my only problem is I was very popular back in the day, and really want to go party and just see some old friends just for the hell of it. Do you think it’s worth it? — Ex-King of the Hill
Dear Ex-King of the Hill,
Darlin’, the only concern I have for you and yours are that each of the reunions tend to reflect where we are as a group in broad, general developmental ways — and the 20 is all about showboating. You seem like a pretty confident guy back in the day, and now for simply stating that you “really want to go and just see some old friends for the hell of it.” So beyond having answered your own question, here are the two cents you asked for.
High school elicits such a range of emotion and associations for us all, but brush aside that fairy dust (or old dusty crap, in others’ cases) and just go and add another today chapter to the tome that is the Book of Your Life. Hell, whether shunned outsider or Prom King, if anyone is remotely interested in going and seeing what some of their old friends have gotten up to over the years, has enough cash-ola to put their money where their inquiring mind is, they should go to at least one high school reunion. This ritual is like a social Rorschach test that shines some light on how far — or whether, if — we’ve become comfortable in our own skin. That self-knowledge: priceless.
So I say stretch and warm up, go and rediscover your friends as they are today, reintroduce them to the new old you, and make yourself sore the next day from dancing or belly laughing way too much.
Dear Ex-King of the Hill,
Wow, are you still comparing yourself to the high school hero? When you say you haven’t done anything, I wonder at how much you are either undervaluing the life you have created for yourself or measuring success by standards that really don’t compute for the average human being. The high school hero can be a crippling archetype for post-high school life. Time to take stock of your life—now—as it really is.
Have you been employed, have a job, family or significant partner? Have you made friends? Have you had times over the last years that have made you smile to remember? Then you have lived since high school. Stands of people may not be chanting your name or doing everything you say or do like nice little toadies. People may not dress like you or name you the guy to date, but in the real world, you are making a living and making a life—even if no one but you chants your name.
Reuniting with friends isn’t about some Romy & Michele “I invented post-it-notes” moment. It is about reconnecting with the people you cared about. It’s about remembering the good times of the past. It may be just the thing to get you revved up again. After all, if you think your life thus far amounts to “nothing,” you may very well need a pep rally with a cocktail.
Remember, the sum of your life is what you think it is worth. If some other humans love you, realize that is an accomplishment worth noting. If you have learned a trade, you have grown as a person. Start a gratitude list that reviews the last few years of your life. Then remember every day is a new opportunity to make things happen. Investigate going back to school or a better job if that’s what you want. Start exercising because the endorphins released will start you on the road to feeling like a new man.
Remember that you are the only person in the world who does it like you do. You are special. You are one of a kind. Then write yourself notes that you can see on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, the car dash board that remind you of the things you like about you. “I have a great smile.” “I’m a good driver.” Whatever. The more you can remind yourself that you are worthy, the more you are living.
So, keep telling yourself what you like about you and your life. Get a good walk or jog in a few times a week and get ready to see some old friends. No one is better than you because they are doctors, lawyers or business owners. Doctors go bankrupt under heavy tuition debt. Lawyers are underemployed and unemployed. Business owners lose their businesses. Life doesn’t start because you have a title. It’s the life part that matters. Take stock of yours and be glad. You are alive.
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