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  • Karen Edmond

Why Attending Your High School Class Reunion Is Essential For Your Overall Well-being.

"There's a healing on the dance floor!"

This year I had the pleasure of attending my 40th High School Reunion. I had every intention of not going. But in a last-ditch effort, thanks to the consistent communications via Facebook that I received from coordinators of the event plus old classmates, I decided that I would go. And that was one of the best decisions I made this year. Because of that experience, I have decided to share this little chat on the importance of attending your class reunions.

For many people, just the thought of attending their high school reunion is terrifying and often triggers a multifaceted reaction. High School years are the pivotal period in a person's life where academic plus social interactions blossom. During this period, a person's emotional skills are also being cultivated—some for good and some for the bad.

Per an article shared in Psychology Today Magazine written by Shoba Sreenivasan, Ph.D., and Linda Weinberger, Ph.D. Titled "The Importance of Reunions: High School, Family, and Friends"shares that

"High school reunions tend to bring up old memories, some of which may be unpleasant. People may also be reluctant to go to their high school reunion because of "feeling embarrassed about their physical appearance or insecurity about their lack of achievements since graduation. The idea that individuals will be compared now to their adolescent self or their grown classmates may carry the risk for regretting how their life turned out."

Hence depending on which experiences occupied your formative years in high school affects how you perceive your future high school reunions. Another issue of why classmates pass on attending their high school reunion has to do with what job they entered into during those immediate post-high school and child-rearing years.

I, for one, can share that upon graduating high school between the periods of 1981 to 2003, off and on for approximately 16 years, I worked as an emergency room secretary, transportation-aide, OBGYN surgical/anesthesia technician. Once my children were older, I was a pre and post-surgical technician on the primary surgical floor at Monmouth Medical Center before returning to college. That means I unknowingly at the time, just like so many classmates who worked in the healthcare industry, found myself caring for classmates who were in their last weeks, months, or sometimes a year of life. Going to or being invited to your class reunion can trigger those lost emotions of hurt and disappointment to the surface.

Here's the good news or flip-side of that experience.

Studies have shown that the older you get, the less one gets caught up in comparisons or status they appear to be in. Because of the maturity factors that make us wise, empathetic, and appreciative of past experiences, we can take that leap of faith and breakthrough those old thoughts of self-doubt and just plain old bad events that happened in our lives. And by doing so, strangely enough, what one will find if they push through and attend their high school reunion is that there is a healing on the dance floor. Because nostalgia is a powerful thing!

As adults, we all come to terms that we all have suffered our share of heartbreak, and with that knowledge, we self empower ourselves to show up against the odds of our seen and unseen fragility.

And in so doing, one can and will experience a walk down memory lane. And all the shadows of past disappointments, dumb decisions, or just plain inexperience fade away and are replaced with the healing power of togetherness on the dance floor. And this is where the healing begins. Dancing, laughing, and hearing the familiar voices that you haven't heard in such a long time can be both soothing and transformative. If only for a couple of moments. Having someone call you by an old nickname or playfully punch you in the arm - so that you stop being so uptight as you used to when you were teenagers provides a unique space of acceptance, camaraderie, and acknowledgment.

So in closing, attending reunions can present real

  • Psychological

  • Financial, and

  • Logistical problems.

But I assure you with just a little investment in oneself to purchase that class reunion ticket. Or put a little aside each month leading up to attending your class reunion that through that small effort of perseverance and a leap of faith, you too will find your healing on the dance floor. And the experience of knowing that you are a survivor and that you are not alone in life. But you are indeed connected with people who, although are different. But never the less part of your life's journey. You are a part of a mighty tribe that gets you. And in some cases, know you better than you know yourself.

So let the green wave come down on you, my Long Branch friends. I admonish you to attend every class reunion that comes your way. We are blessed with the opportunity to be the elders of our community. And there's a unique work that only we can do in our community as a team of problem solvers because we have life's experience, love, and grit that gives us the answers to solve every problem in our community as seasoned adults. But only if we show up. So please remember that the more we get together, the happier we will be. And no reunion is the same without YOU.

Thank you for reading my share. I hope this commentary inspires you to make your way to your up-and-coming or future reunions in life. And on aside note I will be writing an additional report on how unique the classmates of my generation who grew up post the civil rights movement in the 70s are. Please enjoy Parliament Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove." And I'll catch you on the rebound next year.


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