I wrote the majority of this blog post yesterday.
Today is my 25th high school reunion. And I am terrified.
Circumstances have prevented me from attending any previous reunions, so this will be the first time that I have seen a lot of the people with whom I graduated.
And 25 years is a long time.
A lot years. A lot of changes. Both physically and emotionally.
This morning, what I am feeling is that I have come home again. And it is scary.
When I think about why I am feeling this way, I guess that I am not really that surprised. The people with whom I graduated were some of the most important people in my life from the ages of 5 to 18. Those years helped form the person that I am today, though they aren’t fully responsible for the person that I am today.
During those years, I wanted to fit in, be liked, have friends, be “one of the gang”….all those John Hughes’ 80’s movies clichés (those were the movies of my generation — Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). I struggled with all those big-screen emotions, all those insecurities, in my small-town life.
I have discovered that when my 43-year-old self is put back into the midst of my 18-year-old self dynamic, my 18-year-old self insecurities are revived.
It’s like going into a house of horrors — I think it’s going to be fun, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get the shit scared out of me.
If I weren’t experiencing this, I would find this extremely interesting. Really, I find it interesting regardless. Do we ever outgrow our adolescent angst? Do those demons, the ones that were most prevalent through those most precious formative years, ever completely let go of our psyche? I am a much different person than the one I was 25 years ago, as I would assume all my classmates are, as well. The ways that I have changed, whether good or bad, have made me more comfortable with who I am than I was even last year. But….throw people who haven’t seen me in 25 years into the equation and BOOM! Terror. I think that I may be having one of those “too much in my head” moments.
So, Thomas Wolfe — you can go home again. And my trip is filling me with anxiety.
I had a lot of fun yesterday and it was really great to see so many people who I hadn’t seen in so many years.
And the greatest thing — I learned that many of us are in the same place in our lives. Questions about careers, family responsibilities, growing older, children, etc. We are all struggling with and celebrating many of the same life events and milestones. And with maturity, with the ability to look beyond myself, I can finally see how we all connect. And how we always did. But as that young, immature 18-year old, barely able to see beyond my own self and own needs, it was harder to see the connection that was there all long.
Perspective is a marvelous thing.