An invitation to your high school reunion often triggers a landslide of memories and emotions. It’s natural to feel excited and tense. These are some suggestions that will help put your mind at ease whether you decide to attend or stay home.
If You’re Going
1. Dress comfortably. You’ll probably have a better time at your reunion if you resist the impulse to try to impress others. Forget about crash diets or worrying about your laugh lines. Wear something loose and flattering that won’t get in the way while you’re dancing all night.
2. Buddy up. If you’ve kept in touch with certain classmates, ask them about their plans. It’s reassuring to know there will be at least one person you can look forward to hanging out with. Browse Facebook to see what others are saying about the reunion and who will be attending.
3. Drink in moderation. There are better ways to deal with your anxiety than drinking alcohol. Stick to one or two drinks. Try relaxing beforehand by taking a long bath.
4. Seek inspiration. For many people, the best part of a reunion is discovering that one or more classmates have done something remarkable with their lives. You may find out that your old science lab partner studies wild horses in Mongolia or your former teammate teaches art at an inner-city school.
5. Rejoice for others. Excessive competition can interfere with your enjoyment. If your old rival on the cheerleading squad is now a successful corporate attorney, be happy for her.
6. Check the agenda. Some events will be for alumni only and others may be open to family members and friends. Plan accordingly.
If You’re Not Going
1. Resolve past conflicts. There is growing recognition of the long term effects of bullying. If you’re troubled by past events, therapy or a supportive friend are likely to provide effective assistance. Taking a pass on the reunion is probably a better idea than attending it and trying to use the get-together as a forum to confront a rival you haven’t seen in years.
2. Enjoy being trendy. Attendance at reunions has been declining in recent years. It’s okay to sit them out if you have other things you’d rather be doing.
3. Connect on Facebook. Facebook makes it cheaper and easier to stay up to date with former classmates and friends. Visit your class page or seek out those you were closest to and reconnect with them in an alternative way.
Additional Tips – Whether You Go or Not
1. Examine your assumptions. Much of what we thought as teenagers was probably inaccurate. You may have been more popular than you ever knew. You probably make better judgments now about everything from food to friends.
2. Contemplate aging. Reunions remind us that we’re all getting older. Ask yourself if you’re getting better with age.
3. Hug your kids. Reunions help us remember our own adolescence, which results in more empathy for our children and the younger generation. Listen to your kids and give them lots of encouragement.
4. Count your blessings. Celebrate the many good aspects of your life. Be grateful for your health, family, and friends. Appreciate your home, job, and pets.
5. Consider the timeline. Reunions tend to follow a set pattern. About five or ten years after graduation, people start to feel anxious and competitive about their accomplishments. After those initial reunions, they tend to relax and just feel happy to see familiar faces.
Keep in mind that people who attend their high school reunions usually say they had a good experience. Each reunion seems to be better than the last. Embrace your good memories and anticipate a bright future wherever you decide to spend your time.