Monday, July 25, 2016

I would have liked me

This past weekend was my twenty-year high school reunion.

I didn't go, but someone had added me to a Facebook group designed to organize the event and I stayed for the pictures. I didn't care to go and didn't really want to talk to anyone there, but it was still fun to see.

The night of the event, I was at Drink and Draw.

That night, I hung out with my friends, had a great veggie sandwich, and drew some webcomics. Then I went home, and my friend crashed on my couch while I spent the night opening some toys I had bought and eating candy.

The toys were blind bag variety so I didn't know what would be inside each box. So opening them was a little adventure and I shared the saga with Facebook and my friend Jeaux as I was opening them. I was such a nerd at the store where I bought them that they let me take the box they came in as well, and now I have this.

At one point while opening the toys and posting to Facebook, I wrote this:

"I'm sitting here opening toys and eating Pez at 3 AM my life is so cool"

And then I was thinking today how some folks at my twenty-year reunion probably would not have thought it was so cool to be 38 and squeeing over cartoons like I was twenty years ago.

I don't care at all. But it does kinda suck that I know some of my peers would judge me. For not being "adult" enough to have, I don't know, kids and a car.

Many of them would not consider my lifestyle respectable. And probably, at eighteen, they envisioned their lives looking much like they actually do now. And they might look at me as stunted, as "unsuccessful," as childish because instead of partying with my high school peers from twenty years ago, drinking like grown-ups, reminiscing, showing off pictures of my children . . . I went to a drawing club, ate candy, and played with toys in my bedroom.

I mean actually it's my office. I have an office. And a bedroom.

I have my own apartment actually. And it's on my terms. 

It's covered with cartoon stuff and toys and books and knickknacks and writing stuff and art stuff. I keep it organized. My bathroom is packed with barrettes and hair ties and hair accessories that I would have happily worn as a teenager. I have a Captain Underpants poster in the bathroom.

My eighteen-year-old self would have been proud of how I turned out. And probably a little relieved, too. No, I didn't have to give up what I enjoy to grow up and live how I want. No, I wasn't badgered into a marriage I knew I didn't want, and I didn't have to learn how to drive before people let me be an adult, and I got a college education and didn't end up in a job I hate, and I got a book published, and I can still eat Pez at 3 AM and open toys and get excited about them. (And sometimes, the other adults who are my friends are excited about those things too. I have lots of those. Friends, that is. Who respect me and don't try to tell me I need to "have fun" only in certain preapproved adult ways like bar sports and coitus.)

I would have liked me. I kinda wish I could tell my eighteen-year-old self that I was going to become something she would be proud to be. That I wouldn't have to sacrifice who I am or what I'm interested in to have a comfortable and happy life. That I really did turn out fine. That it's actually better than I thought it might be. That I get to buy cartoon merchandise and go on vacation with my friends and make my own food and go to a job that pays well and makes use of my skills and I get to make creative things all the time, every week, and people look at them and read them and send me messages to say how much they like them, and that the tools for communication have improved and changed so I can use them for the purposes I always dreamed of.

I don't know how many people are fortunate enough to be able to say they're satisfied with or even ecstatic about the state of their adult lives. So it really does sort of amuse me (and make me a little sad) that some of the people at that twenty-year reunion might have been as judgy as they were when we were in high school when I wasn't doing what everyone else was doing then either. They probably would have been able to respect the "accomplishment" of getting a book published though. I'll say that. However, the fact that at 38 I'm doodling online comics and wearing cartoon shirts probably would have prompted a lot of them reply with "jeez, still?"

Yep, still.

And my eighteen-year-old self would have been very glad to know it.

1 comment:

  1. I have no way of knowing who I'll be twenty years after my high school reunion (as of this writing, it's only been three years). But I can't help but hope I end up like you--happy and nerdy and still childlike in spirit :D

    (And published. But like you said, most people would find that impressive objectively xD)