With the 50th anniversary of my high school class graduation coming up next month, I’ve found myself debating whether to attend.
Some of the conflict is spurred by tight personal finances these days – the event’s 900 miles from where I now live, a 15-hour drive each way in an auto that already has 270,000 miles on its odometer. Flying and then renting a car would be more practical but also more expensive. And that’s before we get to the event admission and related costs. Frankly, I’d rather spend the money on a couple of weekend escapes with my wife.
Scheduling adds its own complication. The reunion’s set for shortly after the annual session of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends, where I’ll spend an intense week in Vermont attending to Quaker business. Add to that that my local Friends Meeting is planning its own retreat right the same time as the reunion. That’s a lot of time away from home just about the time the ocean here is finally warm enough for some brisk swimming. Why would I want to be in hot, humid Ohio when I could be at a refreshing seaside in nearby Maine?
When I broached the subject with a fellow choir member, he turned the focus slightly by asking if there was anyone I particularly wanted to see and talk with and then told of his own experience at his 10th anniversary class reunion where he found himself brushed off by those he wanted to speak with and was then stuck amid those with whom he had nothing in common. This had me realizing I’ve been out of touch with everyone for decades now, and when I tried to reconnect via email a decade ago – after the 40th reunion – there was no acknowledgement. My curiosity about what’s happened to many of the members has found answers online. More than anything, I’m sensing, is that any inclination to attend is being compelled by a perceived duty – I did hold some leadership roles as editor-in-chief of the newspaper and in a handful of clubs.
As I ponder the event, I’m also realizing my high school years were not particularly happy or even intellectually stimulating, apart from a few special teachers. Do I want to open those emotions, then?
Or would I want to go simply to brag, “Look how far I’ve come since!” I’m not sure that would be particularly welcome or rewarding.
Any advice? Or similar insights to share? Is this even a necessary rite of passage? Do tell!