High school wasn't bad, but reunion racks nerves

High school was not an unhappy time for me. I went to school, I got OK grades, and although I was a little shy and awkward, people were fairly nice to me. I was simply your totally average high school student for four years of my life.

I had a group of friends, I played on the tennis team and attended most of the school dances. Although I may not have been very outgoing, I never felt like a loner and no one ever was particularly mean to me. High school may not have been the most fantastic point of my life, but it wasn't any more terrible than any other activity that you have to get up for early in the morning.

Next weekend is my high school reunion. I can't say that it's something I was ever excited about attending, but it wasn't something I thought I would skip. After all, since I live in Ashland, I didn't have to try to figure out any travel plans, and I already got at least part of the weekend off work to attend.

But then, like someone trying to decide if they're going to be attending their prom or not, I started thinking about it more and more often. It's true that I had a group of friends in high school, but I've kept in contact with most of them. I see people when they come to town to visit their parents, or we keep updated on each other's lives through Facebook. The idea of seeing all my old friends all at the same time and in the same place started to sound overwhelming. I also realized that I would not only see my friends, but the people who weren't my friends, as well. Did spending an evening with the person who happened to sit next to me in English class sound fun? Would I remember anyone's name?

I may have been an average high school student, but the truth is that in the 10 years that have followed I sort of feel like a failure. The upcoming reunion has caused my parents endless stress. They have had to listen to me cry in their kitchen about being not just a failure compared with my former classmates (who I see, through the wonders of Facebook, are doing things such as digging up artifacts in foreign countries, pursuing doctorates, and having beautiful, magical weddings in beautiful, magical locations), but against my sister as well. "Am I the child the failed to launch?" I demand of them, while my parents alternate between patting me on the back and staring at me like I've grown a second head.

I worry about the fact that I still live in Ashland, that I have no exciting travel or career stories to tell my former classmates. I eat dinner every night with my parents and work at the same place my father retired from.

Other former classmates are married and pregnant, while I haven't been in a relationship since 2008. I seem to have done an OK job raising my child: He's cute and funny, and I've never caught him in any activity that resembles torturing small animals.

"Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion" used to just seem like a funny movie, but now I totally empathize with the characters. No wonder the main characters claimed to have invented Post-Its. I am on the verge of telling everyone that I invented the Snuggee.

Overall, I'm actually fairly satisfied with my life. I've got a great, a child who doesn't torture animals, a job I find satisfying and interesting, and the only thing I have to share my bed with is a pile of clean, unfolded laundry. But the thought of a high school reunion brings back all the same insecurities that once led me to cry at the podium in front of my entire English class.

Zoe Abel is still undecided, but leaning toward no. You can contact her at dailyzoe@gmail.com.

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