I was the editor of my high school yearbook. And the co-captain of the dance team. And a member of our Senior Council (I ran for President, but lost, tragically). And I share all of these anecdotes quite proudly to this day. That, in and of itself, should tell you a thing or two about me.
Even still, I was never the girl that was sad to leave high school. I didn't cry at graduation - I rejoiced. I was so excited to move on and move up - to learn more and do more and be more. And, despite life's little (and really fucking big) bumps over the past ten years, I have absolutely loved my life since I left Village Christian High School.
I was the kid/adolescent/teenager/actual-adult-right-now who always wanted to be grown up - I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't want to be interacting with and imitating the "grown ups" in my life. And though I'm sometimes nostalgic for more innocent days, I quite love living as an adult. I love the freedom, I love the responsibility, I love, love, love my husband, and I even love the bills! I really appreciate the way my life has turned out - both by choice and by chance - and I don't often reminisce on my past, because I'm fairly busy relishing how fucking amazing I have it.
But I was able to reminisce a bit this weekend - at my ten-year high school reunion - and I realized how much I really had missed high school; maybe not the overall experience, but certainly my classmates and our camaraderie and our countless, incredible memories together. Even the partners - girlfriends, boyfriends, wives, husbands - we've picked to accompany us on our journey since high school fit seamlessly into our tight-knit group.
In spite of a few worries I had going into the weekend - would I have fun (yes!)? Would I spend time with people I didn't know as well in high school (yes!)? Would the presence of my high school boyfriend be more than slightly awkward (yes, yet again!)? - I had an amazing time.
The day before my reunion, I had a conversation with a trusted acquaintance. I expressed my excitement and my nervousness, and we talked through what was really running through my head: What exactly had I done in the last ten years? What had I accomplished? What I had won and lost? What mistakes had I made? What had I learned? How was I a better, smarter, kinder person thanks in no small part to the lessons of high school and of time, generally?
I reflected a lot on my shortcomings - on the mistakes that I had made and the regrets that I still held onto. She, of course, pushed me to consider what I had accomplished and what I had to be both grateful for and proud of. All of these things are important to me and weighed on my mind as I left for my reunion on Saturday.
But when I got there, none of it really mattered anyway. It didn't matter what we'd done (or what we hadn't), who we'd married or how many babies we'd had. What mattered was that once, at one important point in time ten years ago, we were 130 kids spending nearly every second of every day together, growing and learning and hurting and laughing together, depending upon one another for nearly everything because nobody else quite understood what we were going through. And I spent Saturday night relishing in how important all of these people - quite literally, all of them - had once been to me, and how thankful I am that they're still a part of my life, however big or small.
All plans and questions and nerves aside, I was honestly surprised to have as much fun as I did, interacting with my old classmates - hearing about weddings and babies and new careers - given I thought I knew everything about everyone via Facebook, and that they, of course, knew all there was to know about me.
I'll be cliche, because thankfully it was true - it was as if no time at all had passed. And, despite my experience in and love for digital communication, Facebook never has been - and I suspect never will be - a substitute for the importance of face-to-face interaction.
I have grown a lot and accomplished a lot and made a lot (A LOT) of mistakes in the past ten years, but in so many ways, I haven't changed at all. I will always be the girl who takes (and posts) all the pictures. I will always talk quickly - and far more than is necessary - when I'm nervous. I will always be the Yearbook editor. I will always worry (at least, a little) about being liked. I will always miss just the innocence and ease and fun of ten years ago. And I will always, always cherish these memories.