Say YES – To High School Class Reunions!
By Stephen Doherty
October 8th, 2023
“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go,
we take a little bit of each other everywhere.” –Tim McGraw
Over the last several years, many of my friends and lifetime acquaintances have attended their 50-year high school reunions. Mine is coming up next year and I am very much looking forward to attending. I thought I’d explore this half-century celebration of our respective journeys and all that surrounds it.
Since we graduated high school, we have attended periodic reunions amidst and adjacent to LIFE! While attendance at such events would seem like a pleasant no-brainer, the distance each one was from our graduation ceremonies often impacted us differently. Because let’s face it – high school reunions aren’t just about saying hello every ten years – but also about re-immersing ourselves into segments of our lives, for better or for worse, that still held significant emotional sway on our reunion experiences.
I’m no psychologist but you don’t need to be one to understand the complicated emotional cauldron each one of us brings to such commemoration events – especially during those early years. We all do a wonderful job of glad handing, smiling, and looking backwards through the lens of time – but it is an event that brings with it all manner of time-related emotional idiosyncrasies. That’s simply an honest reality.
That said, navigating the bridge between teen and adult, that we all had to cross – made for priceless life-long experiences that became the driver for future friendships, relationships and adventures. The sharing of any noteworthy event automatically becomes the basis that fuels “forever” friendships. Who could deny the familial connections that we all nurtured throughout our lives that truly sustained, encouraged, and supported us through the years.
Be it team sports, epic adventures, exciting events, journeys, wars, or any other number of seminal escapades that forever color our worlds and shape our perspective and respective paths – there emerges a “Band of Brothers” syndrome that has no explanation for the tightness of the bonds between team members participating in and sharing poignant and important lifetime events.
The “bonds” are formed automatically simply by the nature of the shared experiences. Some people hated each other. Many were destined not to be lifelong friends or to share additional experiences precisely because of their often-egregious differences. But those bonds still remain – always and forever. I think that’s the best lens with which to view our participation in any high-school reunion, but certainly the 50th.
In the end, I can think of no grander or worthwhile event than our 50th high school class reunion. It combines the opportunity to celebrate our respective arrival at this point in time – and all that came before it, with our fellow time travelers. It’s a chance to put the finishing touches on memorializing lifetime friendships while reweaving some of the common social fabric that we might have ignored or not properly honored in years past.
It’s a moment to remember an increasing number of classmates whose journeys ended on the road to this one. It’s a free pass to “live in the past” just one more time, in a world that tells us not to. Each one of us will leave this special event viewing it through a different and highly personal prism, but likely forever touched by the experience. For through it all, truly – we are a band of brothers with shared experiences amidst the most important journey any of us will ever take. Growing up …
“No distance of place or lapse in time can lessen the friendships of those
who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth!” -Robert Southey