Tuesday, August 9, 2011

10 years from now . . .

My town just held its major summer festival/small town hoopla this past weekend. If you're from a small town yourself, you know what I'm talking about. Our festival is fish themed: four days focused around vendors peddling fish burgers and contests such as the fish toss where contestants partner up to don trash bags and hurl herrings at each other from increasing distances. There's a craft show, a parade, kids' activities, fireworks, and various sport tournaments. It's also the designated time of year for class reunions. Of course, now that I'm not a preteen, I avoid it like the plague.

As a homeschooled jungle freak, I was surprised last week when I was  added to a Facebook group for people who graduated in what would have been my graduating high school class had I stayed in public school. I was an actual part of this class for just shy of three years before my parents decided to homeschool my brother and I once I'd finished third grade. I remained somewhat involved with the peers who made up my "class" through sports and various other extracurricular activities, but it wasn't until college, when you begin being linked to your peers through common interest and not just common birthdate, that I felt I'd found "my tribe."

While I do happen to live with one of my public school classmates, the truth is, Andy aside and not counting the boy who came home from college to work at the local grocery store, I don't see much of my "classmates." In fact, there's only one other classmate who I communicate with on a "Christmas card" level and who I try to meet up with when our paths cross.
 
But when I looked at that list of names in the Facebook group, something happened. In the odd sensation that only Facebook provide, I felt myself being drawn in, fascinated by what these people had done with their lives. My jaw sagged as I realized just how many were married with children already. I wished everyone had more job info posted.

After all, looking at that list of names was a class reunion in a way. And the whole idea of class reunions appeals to very strange aspect of the human personality. The judgmental side. The competitive side. They foster a shallow interest in others which is there mainly because you want to see how your life stacks up to theirs.

And if I did happen to find myself in a room with all these people, I'd love to act like I'm an award winning author. I always got a kick out of being the one who seemed to have it all together. I'd want to be the calm, confident one who, if I suck in my stomach and give up breathing for a while, could still zip up her prom dress. 

But I know how it'd really go. My left hand's ring finger would start to feel awfully naked. I'd feel a surge of horror when I realized the job I tell people have (the seasonal, full-time manager postion) isn't how I define myself at all. I'd watch the toddlers falling about at everyone's feet and I'd start to wonder if I'm wasting a perfectly good uterus. The niggling doubts would burble up.

We're only 2 years shy of our 10 year reunion. Of course, I plan to avoid it like that plague.


10 comments:

  1. Wow...I completely hear you. I'm married with 2 kids, but, I stopped attending public school in 3rd grade. So, I have no reunion either. I go with my husband, and see my "classmates" on Facebook, and wonder what it might be like if I had a reunion to go to. The I realize I'm not sure I want to be apart of that popularity contest any more than I did 12 years ago!

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  2. My 10 year reunion is next year. Just this past weekend it started getting planned and I received my facebook invite to the group. I am planning to avoid it like a plague. Because as you put it and I'm taking from it.... my life choices or "lack" of certain ones does not define who I've become as a person. And I don't want to be measured or judged for the experiences I've had that we were right for me and perhaps not what they have done. That said, I could see how some people would love them and love to catch up. But isn't that the underlying goal of adding people on facebook? to snoop their pages and "catch up"? Ok. done my rant! Your town festival sounds fun! I'm already looking forward to our halloween one!

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  3. I went to my 10 yeat reunion, and it wasn't that fun. You are wise to skip yours.

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  4. oh BOY do i hear you. the (only) boy that had a massive crush on me in high school just got married. and i'm still wondering how i'm going to pay my next cell phone bill. c'mon! not fair! since you and i are the same age, i wonder if i'll be heading back to visit my hometown in 2 years, too... not likely.

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  5. We must be about the same age- I feel like because of facebook I know so much about what everyone is up to that there wouldn't be a lot of surprises if I go to my reunion!

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  6. Confession: this was my 10 year reunion year. I didn't go. I know all I need to know via Facebook.

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  7. It's funny you wrote this, I literally spent my day yesterday looking at pictures of my classmates via FB and admiring how they have no responsibilities and are just enjoying life. Seeing them travel and party and knowing that those days for me are LONG gone and I was jealous! SO I think it goes both ways. Besides, if I want to see anyone from high school, I can just go to my hometown bar and see all those people I chose to avoid back then :)

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  8. Isn't it sad that things like this really bring us to some internally dark/ugly place? I think, in those settings, no matter who you are- it inspires our insecurities to mess with us. We each have different paths, different purposes... It's the beautiful thing that makes life go round.

    and honestly, I'll likely never have reunions of any type- and I'm not too sad about it.

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  9. This will be my ten year reunion this year. I thought about it for .2 seconds and then realized I would be crazy to go. I only hang out with one person from high school and if I had a desire to talk to anyone else, I could do it on Facebook. It's just going to be a big popularity contest and will probably just bring back those insecure feelings from high school. I've gown since then and there's no need to relive it!

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  10. I hear you, but I don't think I will avoid mine. I think I will go. I will go because I think it's important for me to do so - to REALLY remember that whatever we end up talking about a reunion and compare about our lives is not what's important to me. I have OTHER things that define me and it's not the fact that I'm married or have some kind of job or whatever.

    I know it's hard to remember that when we get into that "teenager" environment and want to appear to have it all together and being the best and most adjusted of everyone we were around during our most awkward years.

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