Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Screw You, Ren, I'm Eating a Chocolate Bar and Getting Fatter As I Write This

When Scott and I got engaged, and we decided to live in Scotland rather than the US, we made one promise (well, we made a lot of promises, but for the purpose of this post, we made one) - that I would get back to Arkansas for my 10 year high school reunion.

We were young and in love.

Little did we realise we would have two children by that time and be living on one income. (Because, you see, we were young and in love and had agreed we'd have children after being married five years, because five years sounded like the right number, and there, of course, was no deviating from the future plans of your hero and heroine, thus making me adorably pregnant with my first and wearing European black and speaking with a Scottish lilt for my reunion.)

But alas, here we are, the year 2010, ten years after graduating from high school, and circumstances being as they are, I did not make it to my 10 year high school reunion.

Many people would breathe a deep sigh of relief at the thought of never seeing their old schoolmates ever again. Many people did not love high school as much as we did. If I may speak for my wonderful group of Forensics and Debate nerds, we all loved high school. We all loved each other. While we drifted apart the years that followed, I believe each of us still held a very special place for one another in our hearts. We had so many wonderful times together. We grew into ourselves together. We knew the best and worst in each other. Maybe time has tinted my memories rose-coloured, but I truly believe those four years together were some of the best years of our lives.

In a way, we were all young and in love.

But as all those wonderful people met together last weekend, no doubt quoting memorable lines from the many plays and performances we took part in, the many showtunes and pop songs we sang loudly and obnoxiously to, and the many still-funny inside jokes that wouldn't make any other normal person laugh 'til their sides ached, I was here.

And I felt rather lonely.

But I was not alone.

I have made new friends. No friends will be like the friends I used to have. Adult life doesn't cultivate the kind of friends you spend all night, all weekend, all your life with, experimenting with who you are and who you'd like to become. But I have made friends nonetheless. Friends who know the now-me, the mother-me, the wife-me, the grown-into-who-I-am-me. And I'm okay with that. The night of my reunion, I had three lovely women over, and we had a lovely time, and they are truly wonderful friends, who love Jesus and help me grow into a better Christian woman. And I have my 'mummy' friends, who challenge me to be a better mother and who accept me just as I am, that I can trust to show my truest self to and not be judged. And of course, I have my husband, who knew me when I was still practically a child and who loves all the parts of me, the funny, the hippie, the bitchy and the beautiful, and I have my children who are still young enough to think I can do no wrong.

But one hole remains - a tiny hole, and somewhat insignificant hole, but a hole nonetheless - the hole that my friends filled ten years ago. For with whom now can I share the interests my friends and I shared back then? Who out of all my friends now would quite happily spend a car ride singing along to RENT or practice a dance in the middle of the street or walk into a petrol station and pretend to be Audrey and Orin Scrivello, DDS, having an argument over Vitalis? Even Scott would rather drive nails into his arms than listen to showtunes in the car with me or help me read lines.

(Here's your mention, guys.)

Last night, I went down to the park to play rounders (baseball) with a few of the folks who are in Footloose. After rounders, those of us who remained went to the pub for a drink. We had a good laugh. I promised I'd write about our conversation on my blog, but really, the conversation was stupid and not worth writing about. (So Kieran thinks we're fat. Screw him.) But they are getting this mention (Kieran and Fifi) because they and others like them (Julie) remind me so much of those I grew up with. They're actors. They love musicals and the theatre. They have songs that have won Tony awards on their iPods.

We have sung RENT songs in the car together.

We have danced on the streets (no, literally. The looks Fifi and I got...)

We have not quite gotten to the Audrey and Orin stage yet, but I think I'd be okay if I never in life ever did that again. (It wouldn't be the same without PDub anyway.)

I'm not saying they are the new Zacs, Patricks, Amandas and Devons, but they make me smile.

So, yes, I missed my high school reunion. Yes, I cried when I saw the pictures afterwards, to see how grown up they've all become and yet how exactly the same they all still are. But life has gone on for all of us, and I know really we are all in the same boat, living our own current lives so vastly different and far from the lives we shared as kids. We all have our new friends, our adult friends, who know the adult-us, the parent-us, the who-we-are-now-us, and actually that's just life and it's just the way it is. No one can go back really. A reunion doesn't change the fact that being 28 is a hell of a lot different from being 18. But is one better than the other? I'd venture to say... my life now is immeasurably more satisfying, wholesome and fulfilling than it was even capable of being then.

And I love everyone who is a part of it.

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