20 years… poof!

it has happened. i have reached the age that i thought about as a teenager. the day has come. something that seemed so far off in the future, that i thought for sure by now i would be traveling around like the jetson’s (if you don’t know who they are you are either too young or not american, or both. hehe) in some car in the sky. i never imagined i would be living in sweden, surfing & blogging on this thing called the internet, and married to a women when this day came. i remember thinking how old people were when they hit this milestone. like having gray hair, and boring jobs, and lots of kids, and almost ready to retire (i told you i thought that people were old when they experienced this milestone. hehe).

but, here i am. 38. not traveling in a flying car like the jetson’s (which still disappoints me). not even having a car, since i live in europe. not having gray hair, or a boring job, or lots of kids (not that there is anything wrong with that at all!), and nowhere close to retirement. ha! instead, i’m divorced. remarried. an aspiring writer & photographer. a blogger. a traveler.

nope. i never could have imagined this life. not in my wildest dreams. and you know what? it is actually way better than i could have ever dreamed. and the journey the past 20 years has been unforgettable, exhilarating, trying, liberating, and empowering. wow. how could i have ever known, when i walked across that stage dressed in a paper-thin red robe to grab that rolled up piece of paper, the journey that awaited me. 20 years ago… i’m blown away. shit, how time flies.

yes. today, this weekend, is my 20th high school reunion. eeeeekkk!

of course, my high school is in greensboro, north carolina and i am in sweden, so unfortunately i don’t have the chance to schmooze with all of my high school acquaintances. i say acquaintances because i didn’t have that many people i called friends. i was weird. different. somehow an outcast. not by choice, though… because i longed, longed, longed to be part of THE group: you know, the girls & guys who were beautiful, rich, popular, athletic, funny, creative, had everything, and were everything that i thought that i was not.

high school was a tough time for me. part of me loved it. the traditions. the rivalries. some of the classes. but, high school was so much about friends & fun, and i knew that my level of fun could’ve been higher than it was, if only i was more popular. if only i wasn’t so different. i have no idea how i was different, i just was. i was most definitely NOT confident. i didn’t really like myself, or i was always trying to be someone else, always looking across the aisle and dreaming of being the beautiful, dark-haired, incredibly intelligent cheerleader. oh, how i dreamed of being accepted. of being noticed. of being someone. anyone but me.

but, i had a wonderful boyfriend, who was a year older & way more mature, and didn’t go to my high school. and i had my youth group friends. so, i had some fantastic support & my own fun. but, true to who i am now (though i didn’t like it then), i did things my own way. i teetered back & forth between feeling ok and feeling like i just wanted all this to be over. i remember telling myself very often, “this will not last forever. as soon as high school is over, things will change. you will get through this, and you will soar when it’s all over.”

so, i am bummed that i am not gonna have a chance to see all these people tonight at the reunion. not for their sake, not to prove anything to them, because none of them were mean to me. i was not bullied or anything. i just went unnoticed and not included, perhaps mostly due to my fault when i look back. no, i am gonna miss being there for my sake. because i know who i am. and i love who i am. i am proud of my journey through the past 20 years. and i am confident, caring, and friendly… even if i’m still a loner, an introvert, and a bit different.

the difference is, i now embrace my difference.

in fact, i love being different. a big change from the elizabeth of 20 years ago, and somehow, exactly the same.

ok. now for the fun stuff. a blast from the 1992 past.

on the big screen:

basic instinct, aladdin, the bodyguard, a few good men, home alone 2, toys

in our ears:

Colour Me Badd, R.E.M, UB40, Young MC, Rob Base, The Divinyls, Beastie Boys, House of Pain

on the tube:

Home Improvement, LA Law, Married… with Children

yeah. hard to believe, but it has been 20 years since i graduated from high school. it’s truly hard to imagine because time has flown by, but it feels like an eternity at the same time. do i feel old? not at freaking all. i feel like life is just beginning to take off again. so, i’d say my 20th high school reunion is a perfect starting point for new journeys and new experiences. who knows what lies ahead?!

38 year old me.

for those of you who are in high school, or college, or just feel stuck in life, don’t give up. it does get better. try hard to believe in yourself, hold on, and listen to what your soul is saying to you. no matter what people say or think, be true to yourself. it’s a tough journey, but to be truly free is to accept who we are and to live from that, chasing our dreams, following our heart, and soaking up life. you are so worth it!

happy 20th, fellow page pirates! hail to the buccaneers!

peace to all y’all out there.

10 comments

  1. I love the nostalgia in this post.

    One thing I’ve found myself doing while at work (at a restaurant) is looking at elderly couples and wondering how they got there. What they did when they were young. How they met. And then I would wonder what my journey would be like to get to that age. And I still wonder that.

  2. Liz- you are not the only one very upset at not having my own flying car- dammit! Lol…I mean, we have the stupid video (Skype) which catches you looking your worst? Jane Jetsen at least had her cardboard cut-out to prop in front of her when she was still in her curlers? ;)

    “and i knew that my level of fun could’ve been higher than it was, if only i was more popular. if only i wasn’t so different. i have no idea how i was different, i just was.”

    Nope. Wrong. You (& many of us) are basically “normal” (my most hated word!)- in that we did not “fit” the, you-must-be-like-this-to-be-happy bit. We did try- oh yes we did, but to no avail.

    The trouble isn’t with us, Liz- it’s with the “you-must-be’s” of our world. They wish the world to be smaller, more controllable, with less options- because change, options, & uniqueness is uncomfortable to them.

    I salute you! You did a brave & wonderful thing- you embraced your “uniqueness” & you moved forward. You found your place, (thank you Lina) & you are now thriving in the proper environment.

    As much as you have been brainwashed to believe the reunion is something to attend? I believe it’s only that for those who ascribed to the original, flawed way of pigeon-holing you & your future life & options.

    Better to curl up in Sweden.

    Tracy

  3. liz

    You are soooo right, Tracy! I only wish I could’ve known all that then. Hehe. But, then again, I wouldn’t be who I am now without all of those experiences. So, of course, ultimately, it all turned out just fine. :)

  4. How interesting! I am 6 years out of high school but can totally connect to what you say. The more you’re out, the better you’re getting. And yeah, it def is not what you thought it would be. By now I had also pictured myself in a successful or at least exciting job. Well, guess dreamhunting and living in New York is not too bad either for a start. ;-)

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