Well, it’s kind of home. I’ve asked enough of my personal friends their opinions on whether I should attend my class reunion. I got a couple “you would GO to something like that?” responses, but mostly people telling me that I should go. While I half-anticipated a Romi & Michelle kind of a situation, I’m not going with a point to make. I admit to the normal curiosity around what people are doing and their kids. “You have a kid that old? You aren’t old enough to have a kid that old! Oh wait, you are and I am too!” (I still feel about 29). But I have a terrible memory so really don’t recall whose opinion I should care about and whose I shouldn’t anyway. I’m living the life I want and I hope all my classmates are as well. That’s probably the best way to go into something like this. It’s OK to just relax about it and have fun. That’s the plan. I decided to go date-less because seriously? Who wants to torture someone with stories about your awkward years and pictures of kids from people they don’t know. I’m rolling into Chicago the same way I left: solo. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Aside from the curiosity around how people turned out and the desire to just have fun, there’s something about returning to the Chicago area that is a little different for me. I felt it when I drove up the Kennedy Expressway last month, going from Michigan to O’Hare airport. Other than that drive, I haven’t been back to Chicago since 2000. I’ve kind of intentionally stayed away. This probably sounds like a script from some bad movie and maybe it is but I have some weird feelings about the concept of “home”. Specifically, I have never felt “at home” anywhere enough to call it home. When people ask me where “home” is, I’m not sure whether to tell them Chicago or LA (the 2 places I lived the longest) because though I feel drawn to those places and I miss those places, there’s no definitive home base for me. Does that sound sad? Throughout my life I have moved around enough that no one place ever stuck as “home”. Fortunately, I was in Glen Ellyn from 7th grade through the completion of high school, but I have to admit that I always felt a little different then the kids that went to grade school together. Now does this sound crazy? Because of all my moving around, I have become bad at staying in touch with friends across time and miles.
I have some great memories from high school, but this is basically the reason why I had been reluctant to commit to going to my reunion. I felt like I was going to walk alone into a room full of people that I don’t know any more, if I ever did (well, obviously I knew some of them). See? All of this self analysis without a bill from the shrink! What it came down to for me was whether or not I was going to let that stop me from going and having fun. And I think I realized that with all my mixed feelings about Chicago (one of the places where I was happiest and saddest in my life, started my career, made some interesting fashion choices and did some stupid things…ins’t it funny how that works?), I really wanted to go so I could feel better about everything. It’s kind of like the pleasure and pain of scratching an itch (or something like that).
Anyway, I’m sure there will be some re-connecting and I am actually really looking forward to meeting people again. If I could get my HS photo online I would post it here so you can all laugh at the hair. It’s pretty comical.