I was jolted out of my little “all wedding all the time” bubble recently by the arrival of an invitation to my five-year reunion. From COLLEGE.
“NOOOO,” I thought. “It’s not possible! It’s been… five? Years?”
For better or for worse, my college days remain some of the most vivid in my memory. I can start so many tales with “it seems like only yesterday that…” and fill in the ending. It’s simply unfathomable to me that I left campus for the last time with my diploma over five years ago. The place and the people there have so deeply imprinted themselves on my heart, and I always associate that town with a second home.
It’s such a different reaction than I had when I received the invitation to my five year high school reunion. At that point, I was wallowing in self pity after graduating with an expensive degree and no job, and felt that I hadn’t accomplished anything yet. And wasn’t that the point of reunions? To say “I went here and did this and met so and so and got such and such…” It’s a not-so-subconscious competition with anyone and everyone that may have trampled on your delicate snowflake feelings during the hell of adolescence. (I’m looking at you… er… everyone. Ever. Especially you, James.* And Rich.* And Taylor.*)
It’s the chance to say, “Oh yeah? Well, suck on that. Because I am now extremely popular, leggy, have completely outgrown my awkward stage (I TOLD YOU I’d be hot when the braces came off!!) AND am engaged to European royalty.” Or maybe that’s only my personal fantasy. But I was none of those things.
I was still in touch with my high school friends, and had no desire to see those people that I hadn’t been in communication with.
And… the same things still apply to college people. If I haven’t been in touch with you or made the effort to see you in five years? It’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. I don’t care if you think I got better looking, or just got fat. I don’t particularly want your approval of my fiancé. I certainly don’t want to deal with the mass exodus of homecoming to spend ten minutes talking to you in a stifling tent, probably while it’s raining. Because it ALWAYS rains.
The thing is? Now I HAVE “done something”. The years after college are much more conducive to Big Life Changes than those after high school. If you get married after high school, it’s assumed you’re knocked up. Or very religious. If you get married after college, you’re set. People have chosen majors, changed majors, gotten jobs in those majors and then become underwater basket-weavers.
I have a “real” job, with a computer and a cubicle and an email account. I have a house, and a fiancé and an awesome rock (that Ali the Bachelorette totally copied, unoriginal ho)(Team Chris 4-Eva!). But I don’t feel like sharing that with the majority of those people.
On the flip side? There are people that I love to death. And due to distance, crazy work schedules, or personal lives, we keep missing opportunities.
They are the people that lived with me in the all-girls’ dorm for two years, because boys were scary and we didn’t want them to see us walking to the SHOWEROMG. (Note: total-180 senior year when I lived with 4 guys and one rabid republican asshole who came into my room to gloat about Bush’s 2nd term and I almost stabbed him 5 guys and made “fuck” a prominent part of my vocabulary.)
They were the girls who still loved princesses, thought Heath Ledger was dreamy and truly believed that you could get hammered from drinking Pucker schnapps. They were the shy kids, the music kids who congregated in dorm rooms to watch marathons of Trading Spaces, and attended parties where the highlight was dancing to the fully-choreographed “Beat It.”
We spent hours hand-sewing sorority letters, watching cheesy romantic movies and crying our eyes out over the wrong guys. We regularly spent the majority of our meager paychecks buying out the craft section at Walmart and made far too many late-night runs to Sheetz for my waistband to handle.
And it’s been FIVE. YEARS.
I could swear it was yesterday.
*- Names have been changed.**
**- or HAVE they….