How do you survive a high school reunion? Don’t go. Ha! Just kidding!
I just attended my 10 year reunion. I am a 28 year old unemployed single mother living with my parents, so, needless to say, I was a bit hesitant. I thought, “What if people judge me? What if no one speaks to me? What if I end up sitting alone? What if I am fat?” Then I had a revelation. Who gives a shit?? I need to get out of the house! Should I pass up an opportunity to spend time with people who are over the age of 2 and under the age of 50 whilst enjoying good food and music? Hell no! The Reunion part became an after-thought.
Here’s the thing you’ve got to understand. I come from Small Town, Southern USA, where the smiles are warm and the weather is warmer. And it’s all a load of crap. People are nice in public, but there’s a dark underbelly of backstabbing, judgmental Small Town cliques and false promises. It’s like high school, on crack. Everyone is insecure, everyone is conservative, and the only people having fun are the alcoholic rednecks still talking about that stint they did on Jerry Springer in ’99. I never fit in very well. Shocking, right? But if there’s anything I learned from my ex-husband dumping me for a one-legged woman while I was 3 months pregnant, it is this. Life is short, and no one is going to hand you happiness. You have to go out and get it yourself.
So in order to survive your high school reunion you must do the following:
1. Pretend you are going to a party where you don’t know a soul. How would you act at such a party? Would you sit and brood because no one was speaking to you, or would you put on your Gregarious hat and go talk to people? No one likes a sourpuss.
2. Act drunk. Don’t get falling-down flashing-the-DJ drunk, just act happy-for-no-reason drunk. In other words, let go of your inhibitions! Talk to people! Request a song from the DJ and pull some people out on the floor to dance. Have FUN!
3. Act excited to see people, even if you have to look at their name tag to figure out who they are. Again, no one likes a sourpuss, and nearly everyone went there with the same sense of dread you did. If you’re not the same person you were at 17, then I doubt the school bully is either. If he is, punch him in the nose.
4. Be slightly mysterious. If you don’t want to talk about your messy divorce or your parents’ basement, say something like, “Oh you know, I’ve been kicking around. What are you up to these days?” People love to talk about themselves. And if you have kids, you are golden. You can spend the whole evening comparing cute photos/stories and never mention those 3 years in prison.
5. Offer to help clean up afterward. Free leftovers? Yes, please! Oh yeah, and you can feel good about yourself for, you know, helping. Or whatever.
Overall, just remember that the room will be filled with people who got fat, lost their jobs, lost their hair, got divorced, and did not succeed, even though they were most likely to do so. Don’t feel bad about your life. And if you do, pretend you invented Post-Its. I hear that works out well.