I graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 1978. One of the many things I will miss as a result of the upcoming deployment is my 30 year reunion. I’m actually rather bummed about that. I was looking forward to going. I was looking forward to talking to old class mates and hearing what life had done.
A few years ago I was talking to a friend who is some 10 plus years older than me. He had gone to all of his high school reunions, 10, 20 and 30. He had an interesting observation. At the 10 year reunion, most people were still trying to impress each other. Broad brush caveats apply, obviously, but for the most part that seemed to be true at my own reunion as well.
I did not go to my 20 year reunion. My friend said that he enjoyed the 30 year reunion the most but that the 20 was better than the 10. By the time everyone got to the 20 high school really was a thing of the past. When the 30 rolled around, many had children who were teenagers and thus were seeing the teenage years from the other side of time. It’s funny but adolescence viewed from the vantage point of a middle age parent seems but a caricature of what it was when we were living it. This usually plays out in the form of an argument, the teen accusing the parent of never listening. Yeah, that’s mostly true but the reason that parents don’t listen is because we know the script. We’re embarrassed at the realization of how ridiculous we sounded when we uttered the same words now being flung at us. The wise among us also remember how important the statements and the emotion behind them were as a teen and parent accordingly.
So, according to my friend, the 30 year reunion is far more relaxed. By the time people reach their late 40’s, their pretty comfortable with whoever they’ve become. Even if they aren’t yet comfort in their own skin, they realize that their old high school class mates probably can’t help them.
I wish I was going to be there. I hope that I can somehow hear about it.