A Facebook friend recently asked how often people compare themselves to their classmates. See, we’ve got our 20th reunion (feel.so.old.) coming in July, and it got him thinking. He specifically said that he was curious how honest people would be.
Eight people wrote some variation of “Oh, I don’t. I’m content with where I am.”
To which I call BS. No matter how comfortable you are with your lot in life, you still compare yourself with people — especially the ones you know on social media.
Also, I firmly believe that very few people are actually as content as they want us to think. Isn’t that half the point of social media?
Anyway, I wrote my reply. It was long and brutally honest as I explained exactly why I’m not going to the reunion:
I may have the best boss ever, but I’m still a contractor. So no paid time off for me.
That may not sound like a big deal, since the reunion is on a weekend; but there’s no way in hell I’m traveling 10-16 hours for a three-day trip. Instead, I’d probably stick around for about a week, which is more than $1,000 of missed pay.
Plane tickets would be around $400 each. A rental car would be around $200. We might be able to crash at a friend’s or at my cousin’s to avoid a hotel. Still, that’s more than $2,000 in lost revenue/expenses.
That’s a lot of money, even if we weren’t saving for Tim’s teeth.
Tim’s joints start to have (extra) problems once the temperature gets down to the high 50s. Average Anchorage summer temps are around 55-70. This past July was warmer, getting up to 75. But what if next summer is a cold one? Tim might not be able to move much.
Also, even 10 hours of travel time will wreck me. It’ll take me probably two days to recover my version of regular energy levels. At best, I’ll get back to normal just in time to wreck it again with the reunion activities.
Finally, I’m pretty allergic to the mosquitoes up there, and I’m friggin’ ambrosia to those buzzing bastards. I’ve got a routine to deal with bites, but it’s still unpleasant. Plus, I can’t sleep well, which means extra exhaustion for the reunion.
And now the real issues:
“So what do you do for a living?”
I was an overachiever in high school. I had a 3.9 GPA — even with a lot of honors and several AP classes — which landed me 11th in a class of 480ish people.
Point being, I feel like people expected a lot of me.
So when people ask me what I do for a living, I’m going to have to say “customer service.” I know I shouldn’t, but I will feel defensive. Especially since two of my closer friends in high school are now a lawyer and an employee of the State Department.
And I won’t be able to say, “I’m actually lucky to have a job at all.” Because then I’d have to get into my illness, which scares people or they don’t understand. Or they just don’t want to hear about it.
Nor can I say, “But the pay is amazing.” Because a) people aren’t going to believe that about a customer service job and b) it’ll sound like bragging. Or it’ll come off exactly as defensive as it is. No matter what, not a great impression.
Meanwhile, Tim will be in his own private hell having to say he’s on disability, especially with an invisible illness.
And to address the inevitable comments, I know I shouldn’t feel defensive about my occupation. I shouldn’t care what other people think of me. But I’m human, so I do.
“So do you have kids?”
We’re trying one last time, but I’m not optimistic.
So there’s a good chance that we will have officially given up on having kids of our own by July. That will have taken a toll on me. After some time has passed, we’ll look into the foster care option, but I doubt we’ll have anything settled by July.
Hell, I might not be finished grieving by then. Which means potentially tearing up at the question.
Social media makes reunions obsolete
Facebook keeps you updated on people’s lives. And for whatever reason, anyone who went to my school wants to add me as a friend. People I barely remember or only knew in passing.
And just like at a reunion, social media allows you to show only the side you want people to see. On Facebook, you find out about their weddings, anniversaries, promotions and exactly how smart/adorable their kids are.
Pretty much what people do at in-person reunions.
Do you guys go/plan to go to your reunion? Have you already gone to one?