I've been looking for appropriate words to describe my experience at the Wesleyan 10 year reunion... and last night Lyllah left me a message on the phone that said, "um, did we just go to our college reunion, or was that just a really bad dream?"
And she's kinda right. First of all, we just went for a very short period of time - and literally bolted out of the place on Sunday morning - but the entire thing was such a wacky onslaught of emotions and memories. Some flashbacks were very entertaining (same staff at Neon Deli, just more wrinkles and grey hair), others were just plain depressing (brand new Usdan campus center feels unfamiliar and un-cozy, the field behind West-Co where I spent some time hallucinating is now a huge set of new dorms). Oh, and how could I forget to mention the gorgeous young graduates? These kids wear next to no clothing... and they do it very very well. My wrinkles and sagging belly button felt entirely out of place... along with my wedding ring and collection of my kids photos in my iPhone.
Not everybody goes back to their college after 10 years feeling 100 percent happy. That seems normal. But I wonder how many of the people I saw there would have said, "Shit. I really didn't know what I had offered to me back then. Too bad I took advantage of NONE of it." What a spoiled, confused, misdirected little brat I was back then... an enormous waste of money! Really, part of me feels like Wesleyan is for other people - people who know how to complete their assignments on time and are politically active... but another part of me feels like I got to be a part of an extraordinary place (the kind of place that draws graduation speakers like Barack Obama, Anna Quindlen and Oprah) and I was supposed to find my "thing" while I was there.
It came as no surprise to see that none of my classmates have 3 kids. None of the women I saw had changed their last names after being married. And I didn't meet a single stay-at-home-mom (but I admit, I wasn't searching them out). What I'm getting at is that it has been difficult to feel like I'm attacking my life in a different pattern - to put my career off for later in my life. The thought of going backwards into an academic mindset seems nearly impossible, especially in the creative department, because I feel wildly outdated and old. There's part of me that feels ashamed for not continuing some form of work while dealing with my kids - as both a model for them and as a method to make the transition back to work or an advanced degree easier.
We all have regrets. I see that clearly every day. I just have so much doubt in my ability to tackle some of the regrets that might be lurking around the corner.