Last night, I had the quintessential high school reunion stress dream. My fast approaching high school reunion likely factored into the timing. The reunion year shouldn’t matter but it still shocks me to say it out loud. Though proud of my age, I’d rather say “Everybody Wang Chung Tonight” and you can fill in the blanks.
high school reunion fever dream
In the dream (well-liked smart people) high school friends planned to meet at (our high school) the designated reunion hotel which was really a four-star version of my college dormitory. I forgot (the combination to my locker) my hotel room number and wandered around (the dull halls flanked by lockers) the floors of the upscale hotel (drunk) in distress. I really needed to (locate my pants that had gone missing) pee. I realized (all the popular people) my friends were all together without (the anxious one) me. They (mean, wealthy kids) were shunning (my underachieving ass) me, on account of my inability to find my hotel room or avoid wetting my pants (if I’d been wearing any). It was awful!
It’s too late for emergency liposuction. Also, no amount of starvation or exercise will create thigh gap. Impromptu face-lift seems risky. Pretending I’m pregnant isn’t practical to explain the weight gain. So Nothing will alter the genetic betrayal that is my hair. Similarly, my children are too average to attend a prestigious elementary school. I haven’t been abroad in ages, let alone have vacation pics to flaunt, unless you count camping. Of course none of the above quick fixes define my priorities. Regardless, I could totally get plastic surgery in a hurry if I set up a GoFundMe.
life experience versus accomplishments
To top it off, I’ve been married a couple times. Who hasn’t? My kids love me, even if they don’t listen to me much of the time. I am, gasp, middle-aged. Thankfully, the older I get, the less I care about how others perceive me. The impossible standards we tried to live up to in high school aren’t sustainable, or necessary. I have a secret weapon. Something that gives me eternal hope and makes attending the high school reunion easier. My high school friends. Seven of us have kept in close contact in the intervening years. Some of the best motherfuckers I know.
Why do we all get so weirded out by the prospect of our high school reunions? We worry about how we look and what we have to say or show for ourselves. If I’m being honest, I’m most afraid of showing up “average”. But why? I don’t judge other people by those standards, so why do I judge myself by them? We’re a long way past high school, and I mean A LONG WAY. There’s an actual concrete reason I’m fearful. I feel like my career path has led to the edge of a cliff. I’m unemployed. Long time unemployed. I don’t like being unemployed. Though there’s no shame in this fact, I discovered a lot of my identity is tied up in being an attorney. I’m not exactly where I’m going to be. Even though I’ve grown to accept it, I’m still a work in progress.
HOW DO YOU COMPARE? WHY DO YOU COMPARE?
I’m confident at this point every single high school classmate has lived through their fair share of serious shit. We have adulted long enough to lose friends, parents, and worse. I, personally, have spent enough time tolerating insufferable co-workers to know it doesn’t matter what went down in high school. Frayed nerves before reunions is natural. Similar to how one assumes the role of child when visiting parents, one assumes the role they played in high school at the reunion. If that’s true, I’ll have to vandalize some Mercedes hood ornaments to use as a key ring for my four door Chevy Impala.
This all leads me to the important decision of what to wear to said High School Reunion. The high school group debated intensely, but we settled on a signature look. We’re all wearing jorts. Safety in numbers. What? Everyone’s wearing them!