It’s amazing how much influence the abstract concept of time has on our lives. Time makes up so much of who we are that it’s basically thought of as an absolute, such as gravity. Sure, the Earth keeps circling the Sun but it was man that invented time, just as it was man who invented money or religion. If you think about it, these three things combined pretty much make up our entire existence yet they are completely unfound in the natural world. You can’t eat money, religion doesn’t keep you warm at night, and time doesn’t slow dealth.
Well, it’s that time. It’s been 10 years since I graduated high school and in a few weeks I’ll be going to the reunion. Getting the invitation was a shocker, I couldn’t believe that it had really been 10 years. The 4 years of high school seemed exponentially longer than these last 10, almost like high school took a decade to get through and I’ve only been out for a short time.
I’m not really sure how to prepare myself for this experience. It’s no secret that I wasn’t very fond of Tooele High and the community as a whole, but it is the birthplace of some of my best friendships and no matter how much I resist, it will forever be my alma mater.
I must admit, my first reaction was “psh, yeah right- like I’m going to that…” and I think a lot of the blame can be placed upon FaceBook. You see, there’s no mystery, anticipation, or significant events to catch up on. I know more about my high school class now then I did when I was actually in high school. Everything from their last vacation, recent additions to the family, and the braggadocios sushi lunch they had at a trendy new restaurant is laid out for me in the “news feed” on my FaceBook homepage. I haven’t actually spoken to you in 10 years, but I know you still like peanut butter and crushed up Ruffles sandwiches because your status told me so.
The excitement further wore off as I began talking to close friends and family about the event. It seemed this little reunion wasn’t as much “reconnecting with old friends” as it was a posturing, judgmental, who’s who effort to out-impress or “one-up” one another extravaganza. We all started our adult life at the same time and apparently we have been in competition with each another to secure the highest paying job, hottest wife, reproduce the smartest kids, head-up church activities, or have the biggest boat. The measuring stick had been set and now it’s time to see who’s living up to, exceeded, or fallen short of their childhood potential.
I’m sure those of you who know me can see me smiling as I’m writing this. It’s pretty clear that my life hasn’t been based around things I “should” do. Now, this isn’t by accident and I’ve actually had to work pretty hard and sacrifice a lot to not fall into a job I hate, marry a woman who sucked away my soul, or bring kids into the world that I couldn’t adequately take care of. Now, I begrudge no one who has a wife, kids, or a career. I’m just saying those things haven’t presented themselves to me in a way that I feel comfortable devoting my life to yet. There are many times I could have compromised, or dare I say “settled”, but something in my gut wouldn’t let me.
Believe me, I am not shitting on the things you “should” do and in fact I am extremely jealous of the people that have a career they love, a significant other that means the world to them, and child they can love and nurture. I want answers from them- how’d you do it? How’d you know it was “right”? Where you ever afraid you’d fail at it? What happens if it gets taken away from you? Do you ever really know any of these things?
Anyway, it’s all about the single chicks. Seriously. That’s my only motivation for going to this reunion. I see my best high school friends a few times a year anyway- we make it a point to get together. As I said before, FaceBook has ruined the mystery of what everyone else has been up to. All that leaves are the late 20’s single babes looking to be 17 again.
It’s not nearly as American Pie as that though. No matter how much of my underlying bitterness of Tooele you’ve picked up on, I did spend my formative years there. There is a connection, a foundation, and unique outlook that all of us who grew up there share. Those teenage years are significant- special even, and maybe there’s a girl there who also hasn’t done all of the things she “should” have in life. Maybe we can share a drink. Maybe we can reminisce. Maybe we’ll find out that our teenage wasteland wasn’t in vain because 10 years later it brought us back together.…