Monday, September 26, 2011

Reunited and it feels

So this past weekend was my 10 year high school reunion.  I'm not sure what I expected. It was alright, either way.  I actually had fun at the mixer, even though while I was still driving out there I wasn't sure I wanted to be there.  But the mixer had a nice feel to it, everyone kind of adjusting and saying hello. People mingled pretty freely among groups and people.  There weren't a ton of people, but I knew most of the people who did show up.

Went to the football game the next day hoping the cameraderie might continue but by that time it'd dissolved into people who hung out together still for the most part and people who had more in common. By which of course I mean, married/kids/etc.  Which was fine, I had one of my best friends with me and her son, and we were doing our own thing too. And the night before even though I'd mingled throughout the class, I'd also kinda stuck to some of the people I'd have normally hung out with in high school. There were people I wanted to know more about that didn't get a chance to come, including an ex-boyfriend that I'd had an especially tumultuous relationship with in the past but had settled into a decent friendship with, even attending his eventual wedding and receiving a birth announcement when his son was born.  He was off doing something for a job though.

I couldn't put my finger on my ambivalence about the whole thing, even after. I think some part of a person always wants to prove something, and for a lot of people that's what a reunion is about. Who's got the best body/car/job/house or whatnot. And I get the impulse. You want to have become something. Maybe have something to *show* for the last ten years since you left the hallways and lockers behind you.  One thing I can say is that for the most part, I didn't see a lot of "keeping up with the joneses" at the mixer. Everyone seemed to just like saying hello.  I wish that spirit would have carried through to the game. I really left that feeling kind  All the good natured fun seemed to have dissipated by then.

Then I had a weird dream last night, where I dreamt of the reunion, being held at someone's house, I think, instead of the place it was held.  It was some sort of multi-night sleep over kind of deal.  There were two limos coming and I had somehow missed the second one while I was looking for shoes. I got a ride with my elementary school band director instead, and after a frustrating conversation arrived, dressed impeccably.  After some time had passed, the ex I mentioned previously arrived, unexpectedly, and asked if we could take a long walk and talk. It was pouring rain, and I agreed, so we set off. That's as far as the dream went because I woke up.

The dream bugged me more than I expected. But I think I figured out why. There's something about that particular ex that bugs me. Not him, not his fault, not really related to him except for this.  When I think about the past, esp. where he's concerned...and I know this will sound weird, but bear with me...I know that right now, my life could be very very different. I could be married and have a kid.  And I know that's still conjecture, but I conject with some very solid certainty to that effect.

Is it that I *want* to go get married and have a kid? No.  I'm not in some race to settle down. Those things will come when they come.
It's just that "you could be like everyone else" compulsion that everyone has inside them.
"You wouldn't be 'behind'" is what my head was trying to convince me.

Driving home today trying to figure out why the dream was getting to me that way, I realized that's what it was. Partially due to another conversation I had with a friend about always having something to prove.
Because 80% of my class is married with kids etc etc. Because I'm turning 29, because my sister and brother, both younger, are married, and one has a kid, and I'm not.

Then you know what comes to mind?
Long Way Around by the Dixie Chicks.  I've held on to that song. Cuz I never seem to do it like anyone else.  And maybe I am taking the long way around.
But sometimes that's more important than reaching some societal goal.
When you ponder the what-ifs in life...sometimes you realize..yeah. I could be married and living in suburbia with a white picket fence and 1.5 kids and a dog.

But what do you miss when you don't take the long way around? The I-80 of life might get you there faster, but you miss all the amazing things along the road.  Like finding a soulmate quick as the flash of lightning that changed it all...finding community, finding a place your heart was always meant to be, even though you'd never been there before.  Learning what it's like to be completely and totally alone.  Finding new passions and re-igniting old. Making new friends, exploring...standing at the bottom of an amazing canyon at sunset with your friends knowing you're the only one for miles.  Bringing people you love to the places you love, and new things blossoming out of that that make you smile....

Because I don't know, I could probably find a way to be content in that little suburban world. Content...but I always feel like I was built for different...for more.  I feel like I belong somewhere different.  I feel like there's a way to find something so impossibly great I'll spend the rest of my life being grateful for it.  I think that's out there somewhere if I don't just settle and I keep on going after life. Maybe dig my heels in a little bit more, start chasing the sunsets more adamantly.
I feel like....all the crazy places I've been, good and bad....maybe they're leading somewhere. I think about the amazing rekindling of a relationship I can't imagine living without today, how it's grown and changed for the better, and the glimmer of what the future could hold.
And if I'd stayed here? If I'd stuck with the safe, instead of following my heart then?
Well, I don't know.
I might be at the reunion talking about my husband and kids and house and whatnot.  I might even be pretty content in that role...

But for now, I'm taking the long way around, because I believe there's more.

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