Got an email from an old friend today. We hadn't talked to each other since high school but I recently got back in touch with her after she ran into my brother on an online music community. Since we had been friends since the sixth grade, there is a lot of catching up and dishing out. It's been great talking to her because it feels like she hasn't changed much - just expanded herself and gathered a lot more experience.
In true Ash fashion, I got inspired and decided to jump on the Orkut bandwagon (where pretty much everyone from my school days seems to have set base) to check up on my schoolmates. I go there periodically when I don't have any scabs to peel or teeth to pick. There is this one girl whose life I keep tabs on by reading her blog. I liked her back then. I like her even more as an adult now. Though, I find it interesting how she talks about her school days. Every once in a while she makes references to that page in our lives when we were all awkward and insecure. Except, she doesn't quite talk about it that way. She writes about how all the kids got along and how much those years meant to her and helped strengthen her because of the people that surrounded her and everything we went through (we did go through a lot but somehow I didn't tap into this whole team spirit or bonding experience back then). In her musings, there is this feeling of nostalgia of good innocent times gone that prepared her for the real world. I agree with her on the strengthening bit. Nothing like a bunch of assholes and pricks to REALLY strengthen your resolve and come out of the gates at a pounding gallop to get the hell out of... well, hell. Maybe it's because I remember things being a milder (or maybe not so mild) version of 'Welcome to the Doll House'. Perhaps her version of grade school/high school was more of a 'Freaky Friday' kind. A few annoying knocks but inevitably everything turns out okay and for the best and we can look back and have a good guffaw. Not scar you for the rest of your life, keeping this huge bitter chip on your shoulder to save and hurl at the losers of old when you run into them. Or, maybe we just didn't grow up in the same town and go to the same schools. *pause* Yeah, we did.
Obviously, I'm in that group of people that don't look back at those days of preteen/teen angst as being 'fun and frivolous'. I always thought my particular group was a really big one which is why I am usually shocked when I hear those years being referred to as 'happy'. Don't get me wrong. There were pockets of fun and some really great people. But overall... *shivers* never again. I guess being an ugly, under-developed brown tomboy into sports, cars, guns and swords isn't the recipe for happy preteen/teen years. But, I could be wrong. I'm sure things have changed since I've left the school system and everybody gets along really well.
Anyway, I did visit my school community over at Orkut where people talk about their lives and what they are doing. My question is, HOW THE HELL DID EVERYONE GET SO OLD? Am I behind the times again? Did I flunk the class of adulthood? I mean, there are people on that list with veritable broods. I'm talking married with 4 to 5 kids, a mortgage, two cars and PTA. Wow. I didn't think we had enough time for that. One guy has his picture listed, non-existent crowning glory and all. His six-foot frame and athletic build now rough around the edges, sporting an unmistakably receding hairline, graying temples and androgenic male pattern baldness. Good Lord, what happened to make him age so much? The very few friends that I have kept in contact with seem to be young, vivacious, with it and hip. We seem to be in the minority now. I am thinking that too much soda, virtually no exercise and a poor diet have contributed to what has made my present day classmates.
Maybe, on adulthood, I've actually skipped a grade or am ahead of the game. A friend of mine a few days ago told me she was going through what felt like a mid-life crisis. I'm not sure how that happens in your twenties with a life expectancy of about 80 years, but that's how she phrased it. I thought about it and realized I might be getting a mid-life crisis out of my system before it happens. Getting all of it out without being attached to the responsibility of a husband, kids or paperwork. I'm hoping that I learn to live with my choices, conscious or subconscious, and not poison my life with regret. I'm getting the things that I want to do done and not look back on life thinking "I really wish I had done these things... or I always wanted to..." I know there might be a lot of pleasure to derive from 'graduate high school, go to college, meet college sweetheart, graduate college, get engaged, start career, marry, have bouncing babies... etc.'; but that's not the timeline I ever imagined myself on so, it wouldn't have worked for me.
So, to that guy from my class that I bumped into a few weeks ago who said, "Ash, you've really got it together, you deserve to have a husband." Umm, no I don't. I've always been deserving of most good things in my life. To have someone that deserves me is a different story. I really like my life which was probably shaped from those hell years. So, I guess in some weird, fucked up way, those might have been the best years of my life. They gave me the resolve not to end up like the majority of people I grew up with.
Yeah, the bitterness is definitely gone.