Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The space of ten years

Nostalgia is a little more prescriptive at some times than others.

It is a downright predictable feeling over the past week, what with the emails zipping about regarding the ten year high school reunion occurring in a mere two and a half weeks. It certainly doesn't help that a few of the more adolescent traits have returned with this reminder, with the with-children arguing with the without-children about venues and alcohol consumption, sprinkled with a good sized dose of sarcasm and small seeds of resentment that have somehow remained over the past decade.

My flight is booked. I've decided to avoid asserting the seemingly ubiquitous distaste for everything associated with high school, and rather uncooly admit that I actually didn't mind high school so much. I've also firmly decided to avoid the social comparison pre-requisite that is seemingly petrifying others. Why should the fact that I am unmarried and still renting matter any more to me on this particular day?

But, yes, emails from names you have not seen in print for a long while certainly do get you thinking. It was under this reminiscence that I pulled out an overstuffed photo album from the back of my closet, planning to flip through as I made dinner, thinking "I can't believe it's already been ten years."

This is the photo album, really, containing the most detailed picture of my late adolescence except for perhaps the handscrawled diaries hiding in a box in my parents' attic. It spans from my surprise 16th birthday party all the wall to just past my going away party, at 19, when I left my small hometown to move to the big city.

I flip through the pages, and there I am.
There's me with blonde hair, orange hair, red hair, brown hair.
There's me smiling, back against the heater in my high school.
There's me, arm in the air, proudly brandishing a giant bottle of Baby Duck sparking wine.
There's me, my arms around my best friends on my parent's reclining couch.
There's me, sitting on a boy's lap.
There's me, rushing into the icy water for a New Years Polar Bear swim.
There's me, dancing.

The thing that can't help but notice is just how young I truly am. My eyes look so much bigger, my posture more awkward, my arms slight, my clothing just that little bit askew. Occasionally, there is a photo of me stretching, unaware as my flat torso peaks out, so much less conscious of my body. I am so much littler than I remember. I can't believe this young girl thought she was so very grown up, was having sex, was behind the wheel of a car.

It's a little shocking, to feel like those memories were just yesterday, then to see the physical realities of how long ago they really were. It is certainly provided a quick jolt reminding me that I am, in fact, really an adult.

I can't believe it's only been ten years.


Andhari said...

I'll go to my elementary school reunion in Saturday. I feel exactly like you, this is going to be awkward and so full of memories, Oh the good old times.:)

Meri said...

I can't believe it's been 10 years too. My 10-year is this summer as well. I'm not sure if I'm going to go though. I went to a large high school and most of the people I'd be interested in seeing are still in my life. However, that being said, I'm a little worried that if I skip it, then I will regret having the experience. I'm still undecided.

Jess said...

I didn't hate high school either. It was fine. I wouldn't choose to go back there but it was mostly pretty good.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

It's funny, but I really looked forward to my 10-year reunion. I didn't feel old (likely because I was still unmarried and renting at the time) and thought we'd all look pretty much the same. Boy, was I wrong! But, it was a blast to see how we'd all changed (mostly for the better). Now, I'm only a few years away from the 20-year reunion (gasp) and am questioning whether I even care to return.

Mel-Rox said...

I had my 10 year 7 years ago. OMG. Okay...sorry about that.

It was interesting. That was before facebook and all that fun stuff.

Amazing how much some people are still the same, others are COMPLETELY different and how life has affected everyone.

I won three awards. 1) Best Dressed (woot). 2) Most Shocking Career Choice (once a Marine always a Marine) and 3) Least aged.

Be careful not to drink too much. You will be surprised at what a little too much does to those you went to school with.

miss. chief said...

oh gosh it's so true! when i see fifteen year olds dressing kind of provocatively i think "you're too young for that"
but then i remember i had a few tricks up my sleeve by the time i was their age.


good luck with the reunion. mine is coming up next year and i just don' know ... i'm afraid to go to it, i think!

P said...

We don't really do reunions over here (thank god) but if we did, my ten year one would have been two years ago. That is so scary....

Kendall said...

Kind of puts it in perspective for me when I consider the fact that it has just barely been 3 years since I graduated. Even still, I look back at say my senior year yearbook and can tell differences between me at 17-18 and me at 21.

Have fun and wishing you a safe flight.

imfb said...

I suppose with how awkward high school could be that's its only natural to have the reunion be awkward too.

My ten years is next summer, and I'll probably be in Iraq for it, but it struck me as sort of an interesting event. Not sure how I feel about it. I'll go with a mixture of fear, awkwardness, and excitement.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

We didn't have one....too bad. It seems like forever, and then it doesn't. I did go to my friend's and it made me realize I probably didn't miss much, except that feeling of ignorant bliss.

Larissa said...

Mine is this year too, but I'm going to miss it because Hawaii is just too far and expensive right now. Too bad, because I think I would have enjoyed attending.

Blaez said...

i created a photo collage of me not too long ago from the past 10 years... it is very odd to see how much you change but stay the same.

sonrie said...

This year is my 8th year out...my class held a 5 year which was attended by those i was not interested in seeing. Doubt I will attend my 10th...but I think you are brave and adventurous for going.

I echo Mel-Rox; you don't want embarrassing pictures to end up on FB.

Bayjb said...

Oh 10 year reunions are such a reality check and very humbling, until you find the girl who was awful to you and is now fat. Priceless.

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Being one of the "cool kids" in HS, I hope people don't wish that of me! I never really picked on anyone in HS, as I was a complete dork in middle school and know how it can be.

Tellie said...

I haven't been out of high school that long, but I'm looking forward to a reunion if we do have one (which I doubt since I graduated outside of the US). Every once and a while I'll meet up with a friend from high school, and it's just amazing how much we have changed in just 2 short years I couldn't imagine 10!

Ronnica said...

Since I moved away and have had little contact with anybody from high school, those little memories jolt me back. I didn't hate it, but I've always liked whatever season that I'm in at the moment the most. I've changed so much since then, though, that I don't know that I want to go back.

stephy said...

I just came across this and I don't know you but I wanted to say that was lovely.

Lauren said...

That was wonderful. I know exactly how you're feeling - although I could never put it in such delicate words. I've been reminiscing as well, although my reunion isn't for another two years. I think it's being here, in my hometown. I, too, looked at the pictures and noticed how small I was, how unafraid, how excited. How I wasn't so weighed down, almost light.

It's sad to think that the high schoolers of today won't have photo albums to look back on, just files on a computer. There's something sentimental about an actual album - holding the pictures and all.

Brett said...

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Anonymous said...

i LOVE that last statement. "i can't believe it's ONLY been ten years", vs. 'already'. It frames it in a totally different and optimistic way. great stuff. and have fun!!

eric1313 said...


Missing you and all my friends! Much, I must say.

The truth

is a poetry all its very own

and in this moment the truth

comes from a past I can reach back to and gaze upon, in words and ideas in a voice I imagine, a whisper from beyond the pale and into the real

a truth

a moment

a poem

a friend

The South is treating me OK! I spend a lot of time on the lake, as I'm lucky enough to live on one down here. The only problem is that internet acess is almost non existant in the area I'm in... It is very frutrating, let me tell ya.

Anyway, writing to you from a DJ booth at a bar called Lucky's where I'm trying to wrest the DJ's job. I also barback and bartend, waiting for the economy to pick up... Think I might be waiting a while.