When I was Eighteen (and two weeks) I packed what little shit I had, plus some shit I may not have had, and left. I didn’t leave the country or anything (I may currently be regretting that choice but, not the point) but I did leave home. I may not have been born in this town, but I went to school there for 12 years, so for all intents and purposes, I am from there.
Packed in those bags were the few things that meant something to me. Mostly clothes and basics one needs to live. I hadn’t yet become the shoe whore I currently am, so the bags were light. Conspicuously missing… those vestiges of friendship you amass during your high school years. Sure I had a few friends I was close to, but I didn’t weep for the loss of proximity… to anyone. I wasn’t sad that seeing so-and-so would take planning or forethought. I didn’t miss her or him or that guy or my bff. I just left. After several years I finally ran into someone “I grew up with”. It was awkward to say the least. They acted like I was one of the cool kids they remembered (though I was never a cool kid), and I was the same as I ever was trying to figure out if they actually knew who I was or were really remembering my brother but seeing me instead. I had always just been there. That person no one really loved or hated (well there was that one girl, but that is another story completely), I wasn’t invited but I wasn’t excluded either, I was just me. In a time where all of life is measured by who you hang out with or sleep with or refuse… I just wasn’t. Lest you think I am waxing sentimental and sad, think again. Leaving town with what little I did and going to start a new life was the best thing I could have done. And over the years I have rarely returned. I don’t think I have been back enough to average out to once every couple years.
Then I got a message from my single remaining high school friend a couple days ago that our 20th reunion is this Saturday…. Wait, this Saturday? Yeah… and he and wifey would like me to go with them because they aren’t going to the whole shin-dig, just the after party. While the after party only sounded a bit better, than goin full early 90’s…
I was not convinced. It took the nh and the besty a long while to get me to see why this could be good. First, I haven’t aged much. No really, I haven’t. I used to deny it and have a hard time taking the compliment then I realized that I really haven’t. I did find my first gray hair a month ago (finally, I earned that shit!) and have a hint of aging around my eyes. And by aging I mean bags, dark bags (have I mentioned I don’t sleep??). But for the most part I haven’t changed much except the length of my hair and it’s color. Second, I am not fat. Yes I have gained a few pounds over the years but not an excessive amount. And really, I gained most of it the last year because forty is a whore that hates you approaching her sanctum. Also, I have lived my life on my terms. I have fucked up and been in the best of places, but I chose. I fled what I could see becoming my life for somewhere new that held no preconceived notions. I chose to marry young and I chose to leave that marriage that I built with my tears and work, with nothing. I chose (actively) to be childless. I chose to stop going to school and live with the consequences of that choice. I chose to leave a job that was breaking me but stable for something uncertain. I chose to love unconditionally and am learning how truly freeing that choice is. I chose to leave my family and face the world and found out that while it may not be the easy choice it was the best choice. I love my life. I live where people vacation and I am surrounded by friends that love me and I love them because they are awesome humans. I ditch the shitty people because life is too short.
So, I am going to face the past and people I really don’t know but I have back-up. I am going with people I really enjoy and there is an agreement, an understanding… we are each other’s exit buddies. If one is miserable, all are and we bail the fuck out before permanent damage happens. Isn’t that what friends are for? I think so.
Here’s a treat, the top songs from the year I graduated…
posted from my tablet thingy