I’ve never been to one of my high school reunions but when the opportunity came to help organize one this summer, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s been 30 years since our class walked across the stage in the Monroe Central School gym and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see the friends from so long ago.
Planning a reunion is quite an interesting experience. One that I would do again, only because I like the people so much. Otherwise, it’s a pain in the rear!
But along the way, I did learn a few lessons that I am happy to share with you. Someday, you too might want to plan a high school reunion and these key observations could be very helpful. You’re welcome.
1. SOME PEOPLE CHANGE – BUT SOME DO NOT: Almost everyone at the reunion looked different. We no longer wear those 18 year old faces. Boys are now men and girls are now women. Some people are easily recognized and you know them the minute they walk into the room. But you will be convinced that you’ve never met others. Somehow, these strangers were able to sneak into your event. You will not recognize their face, their name and no one can convince you that you spent one day in school with these people.
But beyond mere appearances, you have to consider the personalities. Life can be very cruel and also a great journey and over the course of time it can dramatically change people. Some who were happy-go-lucky are now beaten down and bitter. Others who lived in their own little shell of a world are now outgoing and fun-loving. The key is not to expect to see the same person you knew 30 years ago. Get to know them for who they are today. Do not depend on a picture in a yearbook to tell you the story of their past three decades of life.
Substance abuse, disease, divorce, mental illness, accidents, loss of a loved one…they visit different ones of us over the years and if we had a quiet corner to talk one-on-one, we would be in tears together at the end. For some, life’s events break the soul. For others, those same events give us courage, shape the very core of our beings.
It is so difficult to know how the world has changed those you will meet. Be open to what you will find. Be open to how it has changed you and the event will go much better.