Somehow, 20 years just passed me by without even knowing it. And the fact is, even though my body may think differently, I’m still living in 1998. I still love the music, the clothes, the trends, the slang, the whole thing. At times, it’s honestly hard to believe that I’m an adult, let alone a mother of teenagers. Growing up is way too overrated.
Standing in a room full of high school classmates (who, shockingly, look identical to their high school mug), I can guarantee I’m not the only one who felt that way. I was taken back in the best possible way, with meaningless old traditions made new among long lost good friends that are ever so slightly more mature than they were back then, but still live in the moment. They retain a certain spark of adolescence that is magnified by us all being together and living out memories of an unforgettable developmental period of impulse driven stupidity and selfish insecurities; of laughter beyond laughter, of coming-of-age drama and fleeting teenage crushes. Whether we all liked each other or not, the fact remains that we were brought together by force from all different areas and backgrounds during a very crucial period of development. And for that reason alone, we are forever connected.
Suffice it to say, 20 year high school reunions have a certain stigma about them, superficiality being the top bidder. As I talked about the event with a classmate who couldn’t attend, I realized I felt none of that. There were no obvious comparisons, no ‘you look great, you look terrible’. No shameful feelings about having a suboptimal job or getting a divorce or gaining 50lbs. Seriously, nobody cared about that. We just needed to be together again. There was absolutely no flash to our event, whatsoever, no emcee, no video, no program to move the event along. We simply spent 5 hours talking to each other and were all in agreement that 5 hours was far too short. Yes, we drank more than enough alcohol and spent time on the dance floor when we couldn’t figure out any other way to interact, but that all characterizes our class and was perfectly inline with who we are. And I loved that.
And quite honestly, I had a huge hangover the next day and it wasn’t from drinking. It’s the type of hangover that lingers in your heart for a few days. A feeling of let down; of wishing I had said more to more people, of missing a ‘hi‘ to people I care about because I completely didn’t even see them, or because they didn’t attend in the first place; of feeling like I wanted to connect more and further and realizing that I have missed out on 20 years of good people’s lives because time has a way of separating us. And, that made me sad. Our graduating class is made up of good people. People who are generous and gracious and successful and kind and mature and creative and hardworking and damn smart. Of people who are willing to grab your hand and dance with you like they are your best friend or shake the hand of a marginalized classmate or tell you how amazing you look even though you know they are lying; or look you in the eye and say they are totally struggling being a stay at home mom. Of friends who will put a drink in your hand and tell you they are sorry for throwing rocks at you when you were young or offer heartfelt condolence over the recent passing of a loved one. We are good people, ’98. Believe that. Live that.
There is no shortage of ways to redeem ourselves, to make something out of nothing, to pocket an inner feeling of angst and give into our far reaching feelings of nostalgia. To make good on a promise sealed by a pinky swear or a kiss or a blue ball point pen. To actually follow through with all those ‘KIT‘ yearbook signings. ‘You are so sweet’, and, ‘We’ll have to keep in touch this summer’, and, ‘Call me if you want to hang out’. Because life is far too short to let these things pass you by, to let circumstances get in the way of people who could mean the world to you, who at one time did mean the world to you.
Thanks, ’98 for some good memories, past, present and future.