I ruined my perfect attendance this past weekend. I decided earlier this year that I was not going to my high school’s 50th anniversary / reunion party. I was skipping it to do laundry and clean the fish tank and…oh, what the hell. I didn’t want to go.
It’s not that I had a terrible time in high school…It was much better than my experience in elementary school, in fact: I had friends, I wasn’t bullied, I didn’t flunk out. I had some good times…and not so good times. I got my heart broken, had some friendship fallouts and made some close friends with unlikely allies. I have no hard feelings towards anyone and generally look back at the whole experience as decent.
It’s just that in certain scenarios, sometimes you should leave and never look back. I feel like my high school reunion is one of those times.
I flew under the radar in high school: never joined any clubs except Yearbook, and was pathetically unathletic, so sports were out. I did have a decent group of friends back then…not that I really keep up with or communicate with them today. And obviously I didn’t make much of an impact on some of them because someone posted pics of me at a party from that time on Facebook and mis-tagged me as someone else. So it goes.
The friendships made in high school are thought to be long-lasting, but in my life, I knew differently. Coming from a city in Northern Ontario that had no perceived charms for youth, many of us had dreams of getting “outta dodge” and moving away, myself included. My graduating class split in all different directions geographically. I kept in touch with a few of them for a few years, but it takes effort to keep friends. If the friendship on either end is not reciprocating the effort, it becomes too much work to keep it going, and you start taking your cues from each other. For whatever reason, some friendships slowly fade into the night, until you find your long lost friend on social media fifteen years later.
Facebook has made our world smaller and less mysterious. Years after I left high school, I wondered what became of so-and-so. But, when I joined Facebook in 2007, I got my answer. There was a class reunion of sorts happening over the internet. Almost everyone from my graduating class was on Facebook. I became Facebook friends with a lot of them, and caught up briefly with them. Soon enough there isn’t much more to say except for a silent update that includes pics of your dog, and sharing that article from Cracked. This happens, as the common thread with them is High School alone. Since then, that thread has unfurled into different directions.
Eventually time passes, you’re unfriended or they’ve shut their Facebook account down. You never did get around to exchanging numbers, and maybe some fleeting polite effort was made to “hang” sometime. But you know, in all likelihood, except for a small intimate group of people, you will never see most of these people again, and that’s no sweat. We are adults now, and with every year that passes, we are moving further away from our collective high school experience. Our memories are forever epitomized in the pages of old dusty yearbooks. And to that, I say cheers and Godspeed.