|Me, at Age 15|
Some things had changed. Almost everyone is now married. Everyone has a good job. No one, fortunately, lives with their parents anymore. Most of them have migrated away, as well as their hairlines...
It was actually a really weird experience. On the one hand, there was some immediate regression to the girls and boys we were ten years ago, making fun of each other, being loud, and talking smack while playing video games. On the other hand, it was a big, subtle bragging contest: who's living in the best place, who's got the best relationship, who's got the best job, who's gone to the coolest places. Some of us were on better behavior because our spouses were there. Some of us were on worse behavior because they weren't. The catching up and reminiscing lasted long into the night.
Reflecting back on the night the next day, I was amazed to realize how close all of these guys are to the goals they set for themselves when I first met them. Dave is now working his way up the Navy ranks. After all kinds of hurdles, like a motorcycle accident, resulting in knee and shoulder surgery which cost him his Seal dream, he's now the boss of a group of fresh faced navy guys.He and his wife, who is this tiny, little, perfect girl who I secretly hate for being good at absolutely everything while wishing was my best friend simultaneously, have built a life for themselves in sunny San Diego. Good money is on a pregnancy announcement in the near future. Nick is working as an engineer in Illinois with his wife, the veterinarian. I'd be very surprised if they weren't living in his dream city of Chicago within a few years. Paul, who wasn't able to attend, is a wildland firefighter (and scared the crap out of us when he went radio silent after the death of the 19 hot shots upstate) and has a cute wife that I have yet to meet in person. Even my ex is working as an engineer in Phoenix and traveling all over the world in his vacation time.
The weird part, which I didn't expect at all, was the amount that it made me reflect on my own life. I've got a great husband, great job, great house, great family, and the two most obnoxious cats a girl could want, but is it what I wanted? I know that sounds greedy, but is it enough? How is my life different than the life I imagined myself living at 26? Looking back, I just can't seem remember what I wanted ten years ago. My goals were probably shallow things, like flat abs, more friends, and a better wardrobe, like most 16 year old girls.
I've spent the last few days trying to answer these questions: would my 16 year old self be proud of the life I have now? What were my dreams and goals? Am I doing enough to work toward my goals? What are my goals? As cliched as it sounds, my brain has begun to travel down the path of a quarter-life crisis.
I can't claim to have had any revelations, or answers for that matter, but it really has got me thinking. How much of my day is spent just going through the motions? Am I really living each day with its full potential? At 16, would I have been proud of the decisions I'm making today?
My apologies that this post has taken a rhetorical and existential turn. Back to reality...
After reuniting with everyone, it makes me sad that we just can't hang out like that all the time anymore. I wasn't aware of how much I missed them until I saw them all again. Given how much I was dreading it and how anxious it made me, I am really looking forward to the next time it happens.