Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twenty Years, Friends, A Reunion and A Smidgen of Self-Discovery

Back in February, I volunteered to organize my 20 year high school reunion. In hindsight, I have no earthly idea why. But I did.

People wanted it to be held in the summertime so I frantically began planning and trying to track down 325 people on the internet. The planning process was stressful and created much anxiety for me. I took every "no" RSVP as a personal affront. Stupid, I know.

So, two weekends ago was reunion weekend. The turnout was pretty good. And those who did attend appeared to have a great time. I was amazed at a few things.

First - I have only truly kept up with three people from high school. The rest of my high school friends, I haven't really seen in about 20 years. And, at least for one weekend, I really enjoyed seeing those old friends and we all fell immediately back into a comfortable friendship despite the years. That shared history - however long ago - was enough. Even when the topic of conversation wasn't "remember when...". It was nice.

Second - the "cool kids" still hung out with the "cool kids" even after 20 years. But they didn't seem that cool anymore. Just as normal (or abnormal) as the rest of us. Time is the great equalizer. (Oh, I'm not saying that all of them were particularly friendly - but then, we weren't friends to begin with, so why would they be, I guess.)

Third - I love my BFF. I wish she lived here in town. That's us in the pic - 1989 and 2009.

And fourth - I've got some issues to work out. I've really just been able to acknowledge that I have a latent inferiority complex. I know, I know. There's no good reason. I was a smart kid. I played sports. I was yearbook editor. I had friends. I remember high school fondly actually. I graduated from college with honors. I went to and graduated from one of the top 20 law schools in the country. I passed two bar exams on the first try. I was made partner at my law firm. I launched a freelance writing business last year that I can barely keep up with. I run a local website that gets more traffic than I could have ever imagined was possible. I have a happy marriage and four awesome kids - the happiness and awesomeness of which are, at least in part, attributable to my efforts.

And yet, I persisted in thinking that no one from high school knew or remembered me. That no one knew who I was when I started emailing the heck out of them about reunion tickets. That the response was slow because I commanded no nostalgic attention. I speculated that I subconsciously volunteered to plan so that I would have something to do other than socialize.

I can't say that I resolved any of this during the reunion weekend. If anything, it makes less sense now than before. But I never stopped to think about it before. To think about how it has affected my life path - and it has. In innumerable ways. Boys, friends, school, career. Choices in each of those areas have been colored by this inexplicable feeling of inadequacy.

I don't think I can begin to digest it all and regurgitate it here. To explain the extent to which this self-discovery now bothers me. And, yet, it doesn't.

Because the reunion was fantastic and fun. When it was over, I felt happy and loved. But still "less than" in some way...

1 comment:

  1. I have the same ridiculous complex. Not constantly cause I also have a bit of a narcissistic bit in me, but it's there. Almost a sense that I know I'm good and smart and funny and whatever - but I don't trust that others see it. And don't know how to portray it correctly to get others to see it. And I think at times it is a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Maybe it's because we are so successful at things when it's on our terms (like school or career) that something that's less in our control (others' views of us) seems a bit unreachable. I am not really sure, but it's something I've been thinking about recently, too.