It’s been 10 years since James and I were in high school. There are moments when I feel as though the time has flown by at record speeds and it seems like just yesterday that I was rushing off to my next class or stressing about tests and getting papers done. I can still smell the greasy cafeteria chicken strips and fries beckoning my best friend and I, causing us to mooch change off of any lucky passerby. I can still conjure up those sensations of butterflies in my stomach as James and I fell in love while skipping classes and passing notes. It feels like just yesterday I was staring life in the eye and with my idealistic worldviews was off to tackle new frontiers and exciting horizons. What would I do? Who would I be? Was I truly made for greatness?
Then there are moments where it’s as though I’ve lived a lifetime over since walking across that stage and receiving my diploma, so much so that I feel like an entirely different person. I can’t quite remember everyone’s name that I graduated with and I’ve lost so much of the ‘important’ information they taught me, the information that I always swore to retain. I’m pretty sure I said something about wanting to start a theatre company when they paraded us across our graduation stage. Oh yeah, I used to like theatre. Wait…do I still like theatre? Between bills and babies I can’t remember the last time that I did anything with acting. Something, so many things that were once so important to me, things that I felt so convicted about were left on the corner during one of my many relocations in the past 10 years. That little girl with the wide eyes and excitement for life looks kinda, vaguely familiar – I’m sure I know her from somewhere…
I had been stressed about our high school reunion for a long time and for a few reasons. When I look at other people, with their education and degrees and business ventures, it’s hard for me to feel “successful”. I don’t have an education; one year at university and one year at college don’t amount to very much. I don’t have much money; being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t pay all that well in case you hadn’t heard. I don’t have a car. I’m not currently in school and all that I can say that I’m working towards is…well, still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. To be totally honest, it can be hard when the conversation dies because you tell someone you stay at home with your kids or when you get that ‘ohyou’rejustamom’ look (and I know this because it happens fairly regularly). I’ve been worried about what I haven’t yet accomplished.
I also don’t really like small talk because I start to feel awkward and then I don’t stop talking…which just makes it more awkward.
A few months ago I decided to not worry about the reunion and, instead of losing sleep over the thing, I’d help plan it. I thought that if I was in the group planning the event then it wouldn’t be such an unknown to me. I decided to (try to) not care about people’s opinions. I don’t have to be everyone’s friend and I don’t have to live up to their version of success. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful kids and I’m good at what I do. I don’t have to have the perfect body or look exactly the same as I did when I graduated. People change. That’s life.
I don’t know that I’ve fully changed my outlook. I’ve come a long way in the past little while but I still have quite a way to go. For the most part it feels as though time has completely flown by and it leaves me wondering what this next 10 years will be like?
In grade 12 we were asked to write letters to our 28 year-old selves. I have absolutely no recollection of what is in my letter…should be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.