I have my 20th High School Reunion coming up in just a few weeks. It’s one of the “Big Ones.” I’m thinking this one might feel bigger than turning 40, which is right around the corner. Bigger because 40 doesn’t sneak up on you. You see it coming. But the 20th Reunion…. That one kicks down the back door. That one creeps up behind you and flicks you on the ear and whispers, “You’re old” while simultaneously giving you a wet willy and a wedgie. Usually we want to go to see how people have changed. We want to see what 20 years has done to those who celebrated and endured with us during some of our most formidable years.
But social media seems to have made The Reunion moot. We’ve already seen who got fat, who got in shape, who got divorced, who did exactly what we expected, who gave us the biggest shock, and of course the “Oh. My. God. can you believe they got married??? To each other!!??? On purpose???”
I’ve heard the excuses.
“Why would I want to go? I already keep in touch with anyone I would want to talk to.”
Or “I already see what everyone is doing on Facebook/Instagram.” Really? Are you sure?
Perhaps that’s true. Perhaps there are no surprises waiting for us at The Reunion. Perhaps The Reunion as we know it is dead.
Or, perhaps, just maybe, someone might have changed since high school. Perhaps there have been more changes in our classmates than the superficial ones you notice on your screen. Let’s pretend that those 20 years held trials, and heartache, and disaster, and celebration, and miracles for some. There also might be things going on that aren’t put out on social media. There might just be someone unexpected who shows up and possibly becomes your new(ish) friend.
Because life is about connection. And making a connection can change your day drastically.
Life is about community. Technology has opened the world to us. But it doesn’t take the place of interaction.
I can’t tweet an old friend a hug because they lost a parent…or a child. Instagram can show me all the pictures someone wants to share, but I can’t feel a friend’s exhausted but joyful energy while she talks about her new adopted baby. The Reunion is about celebrating the community we shared for 4 years. It’s about reconnecting with the souls that are cemented in the history of our youth.
So, yes, The Reunion as we know it is in fact dead. But that’s a good thing. Let’s get the old cliche reunion in the ground. Facebook took away the need for all of the awkward small talk. If we want, we can have meaningful reconnections with our friends and acquaintances from our high school years. And there might even be someone who shows up who you don’t remember going to your school at all. And they might be the most interesting conversation of all, waiting in the corner.
Instead of asking a generic questions, we can uncover what’s really going on with the people around us. Not in a I-just-want-to-be-in-your-business kind of way. But in a let’s-enrich-each-other kind of way.
And we don’t have to wait for The Reunion to do this. We are around people every day in our local community who may just need someone to snap them out of autopilot and ask something meaningful.