High School Reunion: The Potentially Non-Musical

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.

Graduating,

BadWitch

==

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.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

==

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40 responses to “High School Reunion: The Potentially Non-Musical

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  7. I’m actually planning my 10 year reunion for this fall and it’s already looking to be a great time!

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  9. I went to an informal, impromptu grade school reunion on Saturday. It was fun, lighthearted and we laughed and laughed. Formally popular people mixed with formally not as popular. It doesn’t matter anymore, go have fun. Just like you, most people will be thinking about how they look now or how they will be perceived by others and *the people who will be judging are only doing it to ignore or ease their own discomfort with self-judgement”. Great post.

  10. Great post !!! I did realize one thing – – people who cared about me have appreciated me even long before I became a Dr. Liew and made contributions through published work/research.

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  13. I am still in high school but I look forward to my class reunion.

  14. I maintain that I am far too young to have an encroaching HS reunion.

  15. I actually went to my reunion last year and all I got was, ‘you’re still the same as you were in HS’ … I was thinking, ‘no I am not …’ I am like 30 lbs smaller, darker hair, more outspoken and now I wear glasses … so I think it was a load of BS.
    But aside from that, it was fun and I laughed a lot …

    It is worth it, if you take it for what it is … and nothing more 🙂 and yes the same groups who were huddled in their packs do the same thing again. Just like at school. It’s like being a creature of habit … very amusing.

  16. barrymanana

    We have them here in the UK – and to be honest I’d rather wade through a plague pit than attend one.
    Old stuff has a way of percolating up to the surface at these events – a bit like stubbing your toe walking down Memory Lane.

  17. ok…lol…. its funny how we still view ourselves as our former selves….good post

    hope
    hopelesslycrushingonyou.wordpress.com

  18. Very funny and witty! Well written! :o)

  19. Thanks, kmariej! I’m not ashamed to admit it, we love the WordPress love and they have been good to us. 🙂

    I was on another thread about a bad relationship situation unraveling that triggered some of these same themes (h.s. reunion) for me. Some of us hold onto old ideas about relationships out of a misguided loyalty, making it harder to move forward. We wrote about this a while back: http://goodwitchbadwitch.com/2009/09/16/toxic-relationships-friends-don’t-mix/

    inthemidblogger – great question! I’ll add it to our list and we’ll answer you next month. Thanks.

    christinagrow – what an excellent example you got to see about how life is perpetual change. Embrace it!

  20. Good post.It’s funny.

  21. hello, nice to visit ur blog 😀

  22. Pretty motivating post. Especially the last couple of paragraphs by the good witch. Somehow the happening “in/ cool” guys spend a lot of time being famous and socialising that, often the world silently goes ahead. May be the expectations are higher on the famous one than the not so famous one in high school that, their relative accomplishments attract different amounts of appreciations and recognitions from the crowd.

    It appears best to stay in tune with health and company and do the best without worrying about the rest.

  23. yes, like catching fish in the ocean accompanied by a small boat sailing, but sometimes life needs to discuss with myself and it is good to make them laugh
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  25. soratothamax

    Isn’t it ironic that the guy who was popular in high school feels he hasn’t made much of himself? It happens so many times. I guess the more popular you are, the higher expectations people have of you. But being popular wasn’t everything then, and still isn’t, so just be the best you can be, liven yourself up, and remember, everybody else is probably feeling the same way.

    I think the most successful people in the room will be the nerds and dorks, but during high school they didn’t get the glory you did. So they’ll probably try to get their moment to shine now. Just be happy for them, but remember you are a person too.

  26. It just dawned on me that I graduated from h.s. 18 years ago. YIKES!!!! I better get crackin’ at makin something for myself before my 20th reunion comes along…….

  27. Reconnecting with high school peers is interesting for so many reasons… My blog is all about looking back at the teenage years. Several of my previous classmates have read my posts (most of which are about how awkward I felt!), and have commented that they never viewed me the way I viewed myself. We’re so sensitive at that age, our self-image can be so vastly different from the way our peers see us. So, great advice, Good Witch! I think a reunion would be a blast.

  28. There’s a little bit of that unsure high school student in all of us.

    Question: How do you make new friends in your 40’s? I am finding that sometimes old friends aren’t the best friends anymore (interests change, people move, get broken down by life, get absorbed in something else). I haven’t been great at continually adding to my network. How can I do this at my age and as a busy mom (I have mom friends, but I’d like my own too).

  29. BadWitch: No, I haven’t gone to a class reunion, but there’s one coming up. I’m leaning toward going.

  30. christinagrow

    When I was still in high school I went with my mom to one of her reunions. Before we left she peered into the mirror and asked herself through me, “Am I fat, old, gray, saggy, ugly, baggy, wrinkled. . .” When we arrived there weren’t too many people yet, and we went for a walk because she was still feeling uncomfortable. After several minutes we returned, and there were more people. She looked around slowly and said confidentially and confidently, “You know . . . I’m one of the more attractive people here.”

  31. I only went to one reunion. My husband and I were visiting my parents on the same weekend as the reunion and I figured “Why not?” I only recognized one person…the token Asian kid. I spent most of the night saying “that’s nice” to total strangers who were gulping down jello shots.

  32. Congratulations ladies! I was SO excited to see one of my favorite blogs on the Freshly Pressed list.

    Hmm…I never considered joining a high school reunion…

    Great post! Good luck to the nervous reunion-er!

  33. As you can tell, I couldn’t agree more with you all. I honestly do believe that people (probably especially the ones who hated h.s.) should go to at least one reunion. It’s totally therapy in one session. So many old memories and erroneously held ideas are instantly smashed and replaced with much healthier, more mature, life-experienced empowering ones.

  34. He should go – and get a new moniker. It will be fun and you never know who you will see or where it will take you.

  35. It’s funny how people view themselves. When we attended a hs reunion we met old classmates who had done great things with their schooling and careers, but because we’d chosen to have a family they saw us as having done a lot in that time! It’s all relative and if you love your life, you don’t have to compete with anyone!

  36. G-Witch/B-Witch: You should have given Ex-King this advice: Here’s a great party tactic -quiz your classmates about THEIR lives, not talk about your own unless asked (which you will be by few). You will have a very entertaining time and find out alot about your old buddies, and find some are not where you’d think they’d be in life. You will be very popular again if you adopt this attitude. I used this tactic at my 35th HS reunion and was very popular again!

  37. 79Sparrows – I highly recommend checking out FB to see if a Group has been added for your reunion/year. FB has entirely CHANGED the way reunions are. We chatted a whole year, and by the time we saw each other at the actual reunion, it was like, “Hey! So did you buy that car yet or not?” -type exchanges. I think you’ll be surprised how much more full-bodied this makes the experience, as well as (as I was alluding to in my post) helping you see how far you’ve come. Cheers!

  38. LOVE IT!
    great blog,
    I hated highschool and was just thinking about future reunions. hmmmm
    this is a good starting point

  39. …that is…so funny, Todd! (on behalf)Thanks for the props. Did you go to your reunion(s)?

  40. Great advice, Good Witch. Life isn’t a competition. Someone who’d judge you to make themselves feel better isn’t worth worrying about — especially if it’s someone you haven’t seen since before Vanilla Ice had a hit record.

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