Sunday, January 19, 2014

Has It Really Been 20 Years?

The other day I got an e-mail from one of my former classmates letting me know that my 20-year high school reunion is coming up. What the fuck is that shit about? I know I'm not the first person to ponder this, nor do I think I'll be the last, but how it's been two whole decades since I graduated from Monterey High is beyond me. I still feel like a kid in so many ways.

No, really. That's not just something I'm saying. I don't and probably never will feel like an actual adult. I don't have any kids, I don't own any property, and I don't really have a career as most people would define the word. I have absolutely no desire to change any of this either. I'm a work in progress just like anyone, but I'm happy with the level of freedom I enjoy. However, all of these factors mean I don't feel much like an adult, especially when I'm physically around people I used to go to school with.

I've had limited dealings with my graduating class over the past twenty years save for the casual maintenance of long-distance relationships with a couple of my better friends. When I have been around them, I almost feel like I'm hanging out with my parents or something. They wear grown-up clothing and have grown-up hobbies. Concepts like day care, mortgage payments, and career goals are familiar to them... but foreign to me. They look, act, and sound their age. I don't. This is neither a good thing nor a bad thing, because being on either side of that equation comes with advantages and disadvantages. It just... is.

When our 15-year high school reunion rolled around, I wound up not really having to worry about whether or not I wanted to show up. Seth and I were still in Montana at the time and we certainly didn't have the money to travel all the way down here just for the fuck of it. However, since I'm back in Monterey this time around, I almost feel obligated to go. And after a little thought, I think that's OK with me.

When I first graduated, I never would have figured I'd want anything to do with any of our high school reunions down the line. I didn't particularly like myself then and I couldn't possibly have been less happy with my life or less optimistic about the future. I continued to feel that way for many years. I'm realizing that my attitude about high school and the people I knew then has changed because my attitude about my life has changed, even though I consciously still tend to think of myself as being a rather sour, pessimistic person who is restless and less than happy most of the time. (My pessimism is more just part of who I am than anything else at this point.)

I'm realizing I wouldn't particularly mind a chance to show my life off, to be totally honest. I probably will want to drop a couple of pounds before the reunion actually rolls around, but all in all, I think I look great for my age -- well better than average, actually. I'm a professional writer, something pretty much everyone I know envies on one level or another. I'm in a long-standing, happy relationship with someone good-looking, talented, and cool instead of still stuck in a marriage to someone I legitimately would have been embarrassed to show up with. I live a life that is characterized by freedom, art, and ideas in a way most people's wouldn't be. It still needs work to be sure, but the basics are in place in a way I didn't figure they'd ever be. I've come a long way since high school... and I'm proud of that.