09 July 2011

Different Places

Tonight was the night.  Welcome back, Class of 2001.  And I actually took the night off and went.  I was nervous.  I was anxious.  I didn't really know what to expect, so I tried to keep any expectations that might have snuck up on me as low as possible.

I went alone.  My girlfriend wasn't super thrilled with the idea of going back to high school, even if it's not the high school she went to.  I can respect that.  High school wasn't the best time in either of our lives.  I hung out with one of my friends, who actually works with me at the restaurant, and his girlfriend.  That, in and of itself, was kind of awkward.  It's always good times being the third wheel.  But I am really appreciative that they would let me sit at their table and converse with me.

I saw a lot of faces I recognized.  But other than the entire building, I got the sense that not much had changed.  I had been warned of this.  Most people who have been to their ten year reunion say that it's still very reminiscent of high school.  I've heard the big change comes for your twenty year, and I also hear that it's more enjoyable because people have changed.

I saw people still sitting in the same groups they mingled with in high school.  I didn't do a whole lot of mingling myself.  I talked with a few people, but found it very awkward feeling.  I wasn't one of those kids who had a lot of friends in high school.  I had a small group that I clung to.  Seeing them was nice.  But most of them are also friends with me on Facebook, so I'm pretty sure that most of them are aware that I have a girlfriend.  Our conversations were pretty one-sided.  I asked them questions about what they were up to, where they were living, how many kids they had...and they responded...and then there were awkward pauses, because they wouldn't ask me any questions in return.  It was like they didn't know how to talk to me anymore.

I did spend a few minutes with a girl in my class who also has a girlfriend now.  For those few minutes, it was normal.  It was completely comfortable. And that's kind of funny, because I didn't spend probably any time at all with her in high school.

I didn't stay for the whole thing.  I figured that I'm not in high school anymore.  We aren't kids anymore.  I'm 28 for crying out loud, I can leave if I feel like it.

As I think about it, there is still some disappointment that lingers.  But I know that we're in different places.  Most, from what I can tell, are focused on their families.  They're married with kids.  After all, that's the path that we were put upon and encouraged to walk down.  So for the last ten years, that's what they've been doing.  I started down that path but didn't continue.  I took a different path.  So we're not in the same place.  Our priorities are not necessarily the same.  It's not that either is more important, they're just different.  And I don't know what they've been through in the last ten years, any more than they know what I've been through.

I can say that I'm glad I went, if for no other reason than to prove to myself that I could.  Perhaps when the 20 year reunion rolls around, our places won't be as far apart as they were tonight.