Recently, on Facebook, I appear to have been located by several people whom I used to attend school with, many many moons ago. I've been located and sent the obligatory friend requests. Now, although I am not sure if stepping back to a time I wore fixed braces, my family couldn't afford all the current trends and I was socially inept, is a good idea, but I accepted the requests, regardless. The thought processes behind these acceptances? I'm unsure.
Why do people feel the need to put on rose tinted glasses when remembering yesteryear and even in the remembering, why take that step and start adding and collecting old friends and acquaintances like a pack of cards? Why go on an friend requesting rampage, adding everyone you can possibly find, that links you back to a time of hormonal teenage angst. People you most probably lost touch with for a reason.
For me, I can't even remember half of the people that have sent me friend requests, yet I have surmised they are old school pupils from the ever growing lists of mutual friends, when clicking on their profiles.
To take this social networking nightmare to the next level, several old school “friends” have decided next summer would be a great year to hold a school reunion. We all turn forty next year. Need I say more?
Will it be fun to catch up? I think I will only remember half a dozen people and if the rest aren't wearing name tags, then I'm doomed. I acknowledge that there are a few people who it would be genuinely lovely to catch up with, but I know I'm definitely not the timid little girl I was back then and interactions are likely to be comparatively different.
Saying that though, a school reunion brings with it, self doubt and self image anxiety. How do I look? Does my bum look big in this? What have I achieved and what does this say about me?
All questions that I will torture myself with regardless of whether the questions have life breathed into them by another.
I will be forty. I work full time in the public sector, I have a modest house, a stable marriage and two wonderful children (OK, that bit can be debatable depending on when I'm asked!) I may also have had, at least one short story published by next summer, but will I feel I have achieved enough?
What is enough? What am I measuring myself against? And what do we expect from each other at these events?
As well as personal self doubt, I will also worry about being the cause of those similar feelings I have described, in some I meet again. Whilst their life decisions and changes will have no bearing for me, could I, without trying, cause some others personal anxieties and self doubt to rise to the surface? I'm not the person to compare and contrast our current lives, but, there's no getting away from the fact that if I'm worrying what they will be thinking of me, you can be sure, that someone else in the little gathering will be having the exact same concerns.
School reunions and stirring the pot of the past, is a hot bed of problems and issues, all silent and unspoken, yet an event, that seems ever popular.
Do we judge ourselves by others standards and achievements? Are these gathering merely a selfish tool to up our own invisible status by scorning others or is there a genuine wish to see old friends?