I went to the informal get together last night and reconnected with people I haven’t seen in 35 years. It was a little surreal. It was a crowded bar, with our rival high school also having a get together which only elevated the oddness of the night. For moments, I was transported back in time, to person I once was, with people I once knew. It was familiar yet completely disorienting.
Everyone looked great. I found myself wishing that we were all somewhere else. Almost like a speed dating set up where we could all spend at least five minutes together really catching up. It was so hard for me to hear anything and it was hot and so very crowded. I feel like I missed more than I was capable of taking in.
It was a weird thing to be transported back in time. To get a window into the past. To be kind of, sort of, a person I used to be...except I wasn’t. I am completely different and so are all of them!
Time has marched on and we have all held our own. We now barely resemble the people we were, and I am not sure many of us grew to be the people we thought we might. I know that I am not who I thought I would be. I am not even sure I can remember exactly who I thought that was...But I was, for sure, set on a trajectory that was not likely to land me where I am today.
It was a weird good being back with everyone. I always felt so less than. And I didn’t last night. I didn’t feel better than either. I just felt like I was a part of that community, maybe really for the first time. I, like all of them, graduated from West Springfield and we were all there to remember, reflect and enjoy a little nostalgic trip back to 1987.
I was really scared to go. Not because I was afraid of the people, but just to confront all that I was and all that I was not. Time plays tricks on you, changes and alters your perceptions of pretty much everything and anything. That which you thought you knew, becomes something else when experienced in current time.
I was so grateful for my guy being willing to endure several hours in a hot noisy bar, surrounded by people he has never met, and isn't likely to see again after this weekend. I don't think that I have ever dated anyone who was so loving and giving, not rushing me. Just supporting me in this endeavor. Seemingly content to sit and be a source of support, who was there for me before, during and after. I am sure there are a million other ways he would have chose to spend last night. But he showed up without complaint and gave to me and I am so incredibly grateful.
We left a little early, the party still going strong. I was hot, and tired and I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. It was a lot for me. And that is an admission that I would not have made back in the day. There was nothing I couldn’t handle...except everything, I couldn’t handle anything really.
I showed up as who I am today and felt ok in my own skin. I am happy being this version of myself and so grateful to not be who I used to be. And also, very grateful and empathetic to that young girl who had no idea what was going on and so she drank to keep herself occupied and feeling safe...even though it never really worked. I had to be her, to become this me. Nothing is ever wasted when the work is done to assimilate.
They say you can’t go home again...and that isn’t really true. You can go home, it just doesn’t look or feel like it used to. And that is as it should be. We change. We age. We grow up. And we move on. And that is what I took away from last night. We have all moved on in our lives. And I was grateful to be among my fellows who have done their best to create magnificent lives for themselves and their families. We may not be who we used to be, but I believe that is a good thing. We have grown into who we are supposed to be. And for me, that has been the best thing that has ever happened to an insecure, standoffish girl like me. I have grown up to be exactly who and what I am, and there is a great amount of peace in that.
High school is definitively over. And we survived, fuck that, we thrived.