High School Reunion. Yes, reunion. This is a topic that has started to appear more frequently as my graduation class' twentieth anniversary approaches. It really seems like an odd concept. Why would anyone want to gather the remnants of a group that was formed by force? We didn't ask to be classmates.
We attended school because the law demands it. The school we attended was determined by our parent's choice of community. By circumstances, we were interned in a system that offered us no control. Our classmates were fellow inmates.
We did our best to follow the rules... most of the time. We did our best to understand the contradictory values being taught: Work together as a community while striving to be better than your peers. Conform yet excel.
Alliances were made based on shared interests or skills. Some chose to be loners. Many were complacent and embraced the passing of time. Others struggled to face each day... feared they would never break free.
We managed to complete our sentences. When the day came to declare our accomplishment, we stood as one and departed as individuals. No longer bound together, we were free to make our own choices for the road ahead.
Many left the community to return with greater knowledge. Some stayed. Some departed and never looked back. "Life Happened", one might say.
Each person chose a path. Some paths were short with great wonders. Some paths were long and hard, continuing still. A few paths revealed to be nothing but circles. Still, we walked our path... took our journey.
Along the way, each person gained experience. New skills. New insights. New understanding. There was joy and pain... Success and failure. Mostly, there was growth.
When a reunion was suggested, I thought about my former classmates and honestly cannot say I knew any of them. Familiar faces, familiar names... but little more than acquaintances. I realized I had spent years coexisting with strangers. If I knew so few, how many knew me?
A reunion isn't about reconnecting with old classmates. A reunion shouldn't be a competition of who gained weight or who was more successful. A reunion is an opportunity to meet the men and women that grew from a bunch of clueless children. We survived school and we are surviving life.
We have grown as people and everyone has something worth sharing. Personally, I look forward to meeting my former schoolmates... to truly meet them for the first time.
~ Don C Wilkes III