On High School and Being Back in Your Hometown
The night before Thanksgiving in Roanoke, Virginia (as I am sure it is in other cities as suggested by this article in The Onion) is often a bit of a high school reunion. You run into a pretty large number of people who look familiar to you even though you don't know their name, but if you arm yourself with a couple close friends you've stayed in contact with, it's usually a really good experience.
I write a lot about college and how much it made me into who I am today, but I tend to skip over high school. I really loved my time growing up and going to school where I did, but for some reason going back and and seeing old friends that I've lost touch with sometimes makes me feel a little melancholy. We met up with friends of mine on three occasions this weekend and had the best time, but on Saturday afternoon I found myself flipping through old yearbooks and feeling a little bit sad. Part of it is because almost a decade has passed since I graduated and it doesn't even feel a little bit like that length of time, and the other part is that I don't feel at all like the person I used to be and I wonder if I'm the only one.
Lena Dunham said she missed her high school reunion because, first of all, she was at a diner enjoying some delicious rice pudding when she should have been on her way over, but also because she wanted to avoid past incarnations of herself. "Everyone's nice!" she said about her classmates, but she still didn't make it to see them after ten years. I'm actually looking forward to our ten year reunion, but I kind of identify with what she's saying.
High School Megan was a bit of a goodie goodie and thought nothing looked cuter than a polo shirt with the collar popped. She had little to no anxiety, but she lacked a lot of experiences. She drove a Volkswagen Jetta with a license plate that said MEG JET and put a lot of sugar in her coffee. I love her, but she kind of embarrasses me sometimes. Nostalgia usually feels so good on me, but when I reminisce on high school days I sometimes feel like I'm shrinking.
College and grad school and Minneapolis all played huge roles in shaping me into the person that I am today, but high school laid that foundation and gave me some wonderful friends along the way; and I forget about that sometimes. E.E. Cummings said "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are," and he was right, but I don't think you have to venture out and never look back.
I hope this weekend brought you exactly what you needed.