Opinion

Beth Bresnahan: Blast from the past

St. Mary's Class of 1992 (Courtesy Photo)

My 25th high school reunion is next weekend. I have exactly nine days to find a suitor, get married, have 2.5 kids, adopt a puppy, install a white picket fence, and lose 20 pounds. Totally doable, right?

If I start on the fence this afternoon, I may be able to pluck that off the list but the rest just isn’t going to happen before next Saturday night. And it likely never will (sorry to break it to you, Mom).

Had our class reunited at 5 or 10 years out, I might have been able to pretend that I had actually accomplished some of what are considered life’s major milestones and 21- or 26-year-old me likely would have done so with elaborate tales of grandeur. However, the emergence of social media has completely obliterated the ability to pull something like that off today (which is probably a good thing). And the trend toward “social oversharing” has also eliminated a lot of the intrigue of reuniting with long lost pals, because thanks to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, et al. very few people are actually lost.

St. Mary’s Class of 1992 was just 66 students small. And while I have not seen the majority of my classmates in person since the day we received our diplomas, I have connected with most of them online over the past few years. I can answer all of the post-graduation information that we used to clamor for before social media dominated our lives: Who is married or divorced? Who is bald? Who has gained weight? And, who has blossomed from a homely, socially-awkward teen into a poised and graceful swan (sadly, it wasn’t me — friend me on Facebook and you’ll find I’m still as awkward as I was at 16). This, of course, also means that those classmates probably know much of the same about me. Alas, they know that I did not become a weather girl on the highest-rated 5-o’clock news in Tucson, nor did I invent Post-Its — two things I definitely would have fabricated as “accomplishments” if we had that 10-year reunion.

So, if I regularly receive status updates on my classmates’ lives and they get the same from me, is there even a need to get together?

I didn’t think so, until it dawned on me that this marked our 25th year apart. And if we didn’t reunite now, we probably never would. Social media has provided us with the platform to virtually reconnect, reminisce and share glimpses into our lives, but it simply can’t replicate the opportunity to go back in time and laugh like a teenager alongside those you shared so many experiences with. So, I set out a few months ago to organize this reunion of the Class of ’92.

We weren’t all the best of friends. In fact, some of us probably weren’t friends at all. Some may have loved every minute of high school, and others couldn’t wait to break free. Wherever we stood (I leaned toward the “get me out of here” side), high school was an experience we collectively shared. We don’t need to spend next Saturday night reliving our glory, and not-so-glorious days, but instead I hope we spend the evening rejoicing with those who we lived through it with.

So, fellow classmates, and anyone else celebrating a milestone reunion this year, do not fret over your job title, marital status, waistlines, hairlines or what others may think — we’ve already scoured one another’s Facebook profiles, so there should be very few surprises.

And if there are, unlike our adolescent selves, no one really cares (nor should they).

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