Saturday, January 22nd, 2005 • 2 Comments on I’m Not That Girl Anymore
Yes, I know you know that. Even I know it’s 2005. I’ve only slipped and written 2004 twice. However, there is an alarming significance to this year that I hadn’t really contemplated until last week.
I graduated from high school in 1985. Let’s do the math, shall we?
2005 – 1985 = 20
Twenty years. Twenty freakin’ years. I feel like Jeremy Piven in Grosse Pointe Blank, only I’m screaming “Twenty years!” instead of “Ten years!”
How did this happen?
I did not attend my ten year high school reunion, and I don’t anticipate making a trip to Florida this year, either. I am still in touch with a few people—distantly, in the yearly Christmas card way—and that’s enough for me. There are a few people who occasionally cross my mind, but they’re as unlikely to attend a reunion as I am.
My graduating class was not of the “rah rah” variety. We barely scraped together enough money to even have a prom, while being bracketed by two outstanding classes comprised of fundraising phenoms with school spirit to spare. My class, on the other hand, defined the word “apathetic.” I really couldn’t tell you why. I just know that if there is a reunion (and I’m not sure there will even be one), attendance will be low.
There was a ten year reunion, but I didn’t feel compelled to make an appearance for a variety of reasons. When that mile marker year rolled around, I felt a keen sense of personal failure. I had envisioned all sorts of adventures and fame for myself when I was eighteen and, at twenty-eight, I was not the person I had imagined I would become. I had neither the confidence, accomplishments or credentials to face a crowd of old classmates (which is rather amusing given that some of my former classmates have been guests of the state in various correctional facilities).
I know it’s not the way it’s supposed to work, but I think I have changed more in the years between twenty-eight and (almost) thirty-eight than I did between eighteen and twenty-eight. For one thing, I’m no longer lacking in confidence. My accomplishments and credentials may not be all I’d like them to be, but the thought of being intimidated by anyone I might have gone to school with makes me laugh. It would take quite a lot to intimidate me these days.
I am (mostly) beyond being insecure about who I am. I rarely feel the need to live up to anyone else’s expectations except my own. Likewise, I have come to realize that for every person who will be happy for whatever success that should come my way, there are ten more who will begrudge me the slightest bit of happiness because it isn’t theirs, so I really shouldn’t care about anyone’s opinion but my own. I have stopped believing there is some magic age when all the wisdom of the world is bestowed upon me. I know I will never be the smartest, funniest, prettiest or richest girl in the room—and I’m okay with that. I also know that when I’m eighty-two I’ll still be referring to myself as a girl because that’s how I feel.
Funny thing is, I liked high school. I really liked it. I wouldn’t call them my glory years, but they were pretty good years, all things considered. Maybe that’s why I’m content to skip reunions, I want to keep my high school memories where they belong—in the past.