It occurred to me recently that I am only a couple of years away from my twenty year high school reunion. I didn’t go to my ten year reunion. Not because I couldn’t, but because I wasn’t where I wanted to be. For that matter, I wasn’t who I wanted to be.
I remember, my senior year, looking around one day and realizing that about a half a dozen girls in my class were pregnant. At the time, I’ll admit, I kind of judged them for it. I didn’t say anything to them about it, it wasn’t my business, and as a rule I don’t poke my nose in where I’m not invited. But when I thought about it, there was judgement.
Now I can’t help but wonder if they chose a better path than me. It’s been nearly twenty years since high school ended and I am still… adrift. Boys and girls I went to classes with now have children who are about to graduate. Some are probably grandparents already. I’ve had a handful of relationships in my life, and none were particularly serious. I’ve never been a father… never been close to being a father. My chosen career, that of a writer, has not led me where I expected to go. Or rather, it hasn’t led me there yet. The truth is, I still have no idea where it’s going. Perhaps I’m circling the drain, on my way to washing up, unaccomplished, unremarkable. Or maybe greatness is just over the next horizon.
Twenty years will have been more than long enough for many of my cohort to establish their place in the world, I’m sure. Or at least accomplish something.
Perhaps uncertainty is the only certainty. Perhaps, right now, a hundred miles away, the guy who sat behind me in Spanish II is thinking to himself, ‘that reunion is so close, and all I’ve done with my life is have these three kids and open my own garage. I wonder what would have happened if I’d followed that pipe dream…’
It’s funny, looking backwards is sometimes the only way to see the present clearly. When we see the choices we didn’t make, and consider all of the people that we might have become, it gives us some clarity about who we are.
Odd, though, that clarity seems to come in the form of unanswerable questions.
The road not taken. The person I might have been.