What??? It has already been 20 years since I graduated high school? Really? That is crazy. 10 years, that seemed right. It only seemed strange that I wasn't farther along in life at 10 years. I had JUST finished my degree and had JUST gotten married. I had been surprised to find it took me that long for life to get to these stages. But, now, looking back . . . it was perfect. My husband and I couldn't have met if we hadn't each taken our own sweet time getting our Bachelor's degrees. And I HAD announced over and over again as a girl that 28 seemed the PERFECT time to get married. I always imagined that would leave plenty of time for friendship fun first. Plenty of life AFTER high school before taking the lifetime plunge. And it did seem to work that way.
And now, here I am, 20 years after high school, trying to make sense of that. When I think about how NOT ready to visit with high school people again I was at the 10 year mark, it is funny that I am feeling more excited and ready now. Perhaps the happiness and humility that parenthood brings has reshapen my perspective about high school and the friends we leave there.
As I look though my year books and read through the signatures and the great and goofy things that were written, I remember how great high school was in so many ways. I found theater and choir, and they saved my shy self from the path my natural repelling of small talk were taking me down.
When I entered high school, I was moving from a place I had lived for 7 years. I had lived there longer than anywhere else ever. I was leaving the longest friendships I had up to then. And I was going from a district with junior high school to one with middle schools. That meant that instead of being a "big shot" 9th grader and first chair flute with people I had known for most of a decade, I would suddenly be a FRESHMAN in a building full of strangers.
I wasn't brave enough to join the gymnastics team. I stood outside of the double doors to the gymnasium, frozen and unable to make a move. No way I was going to open the door and walk across the mats feeling all the eyes of the established and known gymnasts of the school (there were SENIORS in there!) just to ask the coach what it would take to join the team.
And I couldn't convince my counselor, much to my horror, that although I had algebra, biology, and drama on my schedule for my old school . . . I was in NO way ready to take on those 10th grade classes as a 9th grader. So I sat in those classes filled with 15 and 16 year olds looking like a 12 year old, and I just shuddered, cowered, blushed, and tried to keep breathing.
But, by the time second semester rolled around, that drama class turned into a couple of decent roles and some lifetime friendships in the making. So, I guess that counselor got lucky in that way. And so did I.
So now I'll see some people and faces I haven't seen in 20 years this weekend. Some I may recognize. Some who may not know me from Eve. And I'm looking forward to it. It will be an adventure. A test of memory that I'm sure in many ways I'll fail. But full circle back to a need for small talk and yet this time there will be some reminising involved too. I'm looking forward to seeing any of my theater and/or choir friends. I'm looking forward to seeing SOME of my old "drinking friends" - some not so much. I'm looking forward to meeting the children of some great people I once knew. Perhaps meeting the children of old friends is the biggest way I know to feel a touch closer to feeling like a grown up. After all these years.
And, after all these years . . . I'm ready. Now, I'm ready.