July 18, 2011 § 3 Comments
My previous high school reunion post was perceived by many as negative. It wasn’t — although it did employ numerous rhetorical devices that the cult of the positive find offensive. You see, it is possible to be positive by being negative. Warning Nostalgia Alert: Mrs. Beattie’s opening quote from her humanities class from that gloom and doomer, Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I had no need to post something to those who find solace and comfort in Facebook banalities. For those from high school who really know me or have spent any time with me in the last thirty years, you would know that I’m a relatively well-adjusted, happy person.
I know for a fact that several of the people who commented negatively on the reunion page have undergone personal tragedy and quite possibly the reunion and the re-connection is something that is assuaging the pain. My comments were not for them. If the reunion is decreasing your pain in the rush of re-connection, congratulations, milk it for all you can. For some, it does not.
My post was about what we forget in our rush to nostalgia. Humans crave connection, including me. I’m certain that some of those tracked down by the reunion committee are thrilled to be found and that someone cared enough to at least try and find their address. In saying that maybe some don’t want to be found, that was a two edged positive comment: first, don’t stress if you can’t find everyone (if someone want’s to be found and has the most rudimentary computer skills, they will find you) and second, if someone isn’t found, try and have compassion for why they might not want light shown on their current life.
Facebook gives a semblance of connection, but depth comes from examining, not observing lives. I got more out of the reunion page from my post than anything else, because I actually felt some connection with a few of you.
The gist of the comments were: “Don’t be such a downer. I thought you were a happy person.”
I am happy and extremely content. I wasn’t particularly brave by posting an alternate viewpoint — I did it because I knew that the anticipated and realized negative responses wouldn’t have any impact on my life, while I might be able to say something to the few who would like to say something, can’t. I make my living helping people who are struggling financially –Robin Hooding is a satisfying career. I also have a beautiful wife, who writes amazing books, five children and a beautiful grandchild. Yes, we’ve had our familial tragedies, but I’ve weathered them without anyone from my high school class.
So those are my motivations in posting my anger over the nostalgia — not that I’m not as guilty as anyone else of being nostalgic or craving to play the hierarchical “how do I compare” game at the reunion or curiosity to see what 30 years did to my former classmates — but as a warning to myself and those who will listen to not forget the human suffering and do what little we might be able to do to assuage it. To me, that is the most positive of motivations.