At 51, I was convinced I’d successfully dodged all those pesky school reunion invites in the mail.
Moving a lot helps, but mostly I had an innate aversion toward maintaining contact with anyone remotely connected with a really rather awkward, confusing and altogether ghastly time.
Then Facebook caught up with me.
My former colleagues at journalism school were organising a shindig to reminisce about the ‘good ol days’, when we were all going to right the world’s wrongs and hold the Donald Trumps accountable.
Intrigued at first I grudgingly hit the join group button – and tumbled back to 1988 through a vortex of unresolved issues and emotions.
It’s like seeing your life flash before you, only in reverse; all those hopes, gaffes, ideals, and half-baked dreams that never quite took off, came crashing back with the click of my mouse.
And then the biggest sledgehammer of all; seeing all those smiling, happy faces of your long-forgotten classmates grinning at you now from their kids’ birthday parties, Maldives holidays and $500-a-head weddings.
Don’t get me wrong, my life so far hasn’t been a total washout. I have a job that pays the bills and an amazing wife who against all rational logic still looks at me – mixed-up, confused-as-ever-me – like I have all the answers.
But I don’t want to compare the ‘Then and Now’, thanks very much, which when you boil it all down, is exactly what reunions are all about.
“Oh, my god, I can’t believe she ended up with him…I can’t believe he’s living there now, in that job! Oh dear, he hasn’t aged well at all has he? Do, I really look as old as this lot? Oh, I thought you might have ended up there. You’re where? We always thought you’d have, you know, done more.”
And then there’s the sad, ‘I can’t believe we did that’ anecdotes. That’s the worst of all.
I have visions of me – a few too many vodka shots under the belt to numb the pain – blurting out, “Guys, if you really cared about all this, why did you wait 30 years to get in touch again?
For some people, I appreciate, that it’s just natural to want to know how the story ends, isn’t it?
That’s human nature, even more so for journalists, of course.
For others, like me, I just don’t really care enough, I guess.
Because when all is said and done, the few friends I have left, the ones who really do care about what I’ve been up to lately, just pick up the phone.