Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where does the past belong?

This weekend I've been drowning in nostalgia. And I think I'm ready for some air.

I went to an alternative high school that was part of the main Worthington school system. The Linworth Alternative Program, or AP as we call it, is a small school that students apply to for acceptance. It's a public school, but it's not like regular high school. My friends who didn't go there call it my "nerd school", since the teaching model is very much in the style of university with small discussion based classes with grades depending on papers and exams, rather than daily homework, small quizzes and other such busywork. Our classes were very small, as was the school. The school was for grades 9-12, and the total of students from all 4 grades rarely got above 150. I think one year the school had 175, and that was considered a huge number. As such, when we have reunions, they aren't class reunions, they are reunions for anyone who ever went to the school. After all, when your graduating class has like 50 people in it, considering the low turnouts anyway, this isn't much of a gathering.

I'm bringing this up because students who went to Linworth were assigned a "Home School", which was one of the 2 main high schools in the district. This was the school a student would have gone to had that student not applied to the AP, and it was based on their location in the city. There were 2 high schools, and even as AP students we still had classes at the main campuses, since not everything was offered at the AP, and we didn't have separate extra curricular programs. Anyway, the graduating class of my main campus had their 15 year high school reunion last night. I know that was a lot of backstory to say that I went to a high school reunion, but I felt the explanation was necessary.

Now since I went to the AP all 4 years of high school and only ventured to the main campus for French and Theatre and that one year for Chemistry, I didn't know anyone outside of those classes. I did take Music Theory, but that was a lot of Theatre crossover. I didn't do the football game Friday thing, nor did I go to dances and such. Nothing against them (granted, I hate football), I just didn't know the people there. And the ones I did I knew from middle school or even elementary school. So there were a lot of people I saw this weekend who I haven't seen since the 1990 trip to Washington, D.C., let alone high school graduation.

So long story short, last night was weird.

I went because there were some friends from theater I hadn't seen in a very long time, and people who I've been chatting with on Facebook, so I had a nice time. But there were a lot of guys who remember more about my dad from when he was a wrestling coach. And while there are sometimes I feel very nervous to go to AP reunions (I know those people better and I don't exactly have a squeaky clean past), I was not at all nervous to go to this one. I had no interest in impressing these people, and I was just there to say hey. It was nice, but weird. It felt again like I was out of place and somewhere with people I don't really know. But we share a part of our past, and so it was nice to see that everyone is doing well.

And as I said to my friend Amelia, adulthood is the great leveler. We're in our 30s now and living in a big world where the popular kids aren't popular anymore. Any drama we had in high school with anyone is gone. At least, it should be. There is no reason to hang onto crap for this long unless something really, really bad happened. I've become extremely forgiving in recent years.

Today, Chris went to Mansfield to a toy show with our nephew, and I stayed home as we had guests coming today. And this being the 8 days of the 80s on VH1 Classic, I watched 80s videos all day long. Like from letter L to letter R, flipping during sucky videos over to Die Hard on Cinemax. And I started thinking how this weekend was a really good example of how much I live in the past.

When I was a manager of a music store, I hired a lot of young people since someone needed to know what the kids were listening to these days. One day, one of my employees came in and asked me about a commercial he had seen with an 80s song in it, and he asked me who the band was. When I told him, he said "I KNEW you would know!" And this one statement made me feel very very old. I thought, I do really listen still to a lot of 80s music. I haven't gotten into many new bands lately, and I'm becoming one of those people who haven't added much to their record collection since college. And this scared me into spending hours on iTunes and Amazon clicking from suggestion to suggestion trying to find something new.

I do get a bit stuck on things which eventually become old things. Like I've always said that movies I've seen a million times are like good old friends. You know them really well and they can put you in whatever mood you need to be. But lately I've been finding that the same old movies don't have the same old effect on me anymore, and I think this means I'm ready to find a more current repertoire in all aspects of my life.

I need to find conversation topics that don't involve past shenanigans. I need to become obsessively passionate about a new band. I need at favorite movie released after 2005. And when I pick up again with the people I knew long ago, I need to interact with them as we are now, and not try to hold onto how we used to be. And I need to be okay that things are going to be different, even if I was not ready for the change to happen. I need to look ahead rather than cling to what is behind me, and not feel the need to revisit so much. The past isn't the best place to be, it's just what I'm used to. I need to remember that what is in front of me is what I make of it, and if I want to I can make it rule.

By the way, it was The Cars.

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