Tonight was my 10 year high school reunion, and I’m very content in saying that I stayed home and made dinner, watched TV and played the new Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U. Somewhat a symbol of the kind of life I have come to lead – laid back and relaxed at home, no focus on going out or big parties/gatherings. This isn’t really where I thought I’d be 10 years after high school, but I can honestly say it’s much better than where I thought my life would take me.

Tonight was the reunion for the school I went to my freshman and senior years. For my sophomore and junior years, right in the middle of my high school career, I went to another school. I was admittedly a brat, a teenager who had no idea what I wanted, how to get it, or how to handle those around me while I tried to figure it out. I spent those four years bouncing back and forth between my divorced parents’ households, trying to play off their sympathies and feelings about the other, only to find that the situation got bad wherever I went. Looking back, I don’t see how a kid who thought he was so smart couldn’t see that the common problem was him.

I took my problems with me everywhere I went. It didn’t help that high school in general was a really bad place for me. I didn’t talk much to my parents about what went on each day, the teasing, the torment, and the constant thoughts of “why do I bother going back each day?” I had a few friends who were my saving grace, but no matter how bright a light you can hold onto, the darkness is always there, just out of reach and taunting you. Of the school I ended up graduating from, I have held onto only one very dear friend. We haven’t seen each other in years, but she is still very near to my heart, a reminder of the sole smile I would seek out each day to get me through until I got to go home.

I came out in high school, not the easiest thing i’ve ever done, but I made it through relatively unscathed. I had my first forays into “dating” and “relationships”, and had my first heartbreak. I remember thinking it was the end of the world. I’d always be alone, there was no one else for me. He was right, I was wrong, and I deserved to be single forever. I truly wish I could reach back through time and shake myself by the shoulders and yell “wake up!” because it just wasn’t worth all that. I ended up alienating friends and losing out on what could’ve been salvaged and worth moving on with some semblance of sanity – instead I went a little bit off the deep end. I truly don’t know why I acted how I did, or what could’ve been going through my mind, but it’s just another part of that time of my life that I look back on and chuckle. It was an experience worth having, but not one I ever need to go through again.

I had my first jobs during high school. Worked fast food, retail, and even interned at a government security agency. Got really close to getting certified with “secret” or “top secret” clearance, only to be downsized and shown the door. Never would’ve imagined then that I’d be where I am now, doing what I do. Back then I looked for jobs, now I’m focused on my career. Where’s the next stepping stone? Will this be my permanent home? Back then I just hoped that when I got a new job I’d be making another dollar or so extra an hour. I was able to justify that with such a big increase, every other day of work I might be able to buy a CD. Woohoo!

After graduating high school I moved out and on my own on only four days later. I thought I was living large, sharing an apartment with another student who would be attending the same college as me just a couple months later.  I hopped from apartment to apartment for years, and now have been living happily with my partner in a home we built together three years ago. I thought I was so cool – so many of my friends were still living at home, or living in a dorm, and I had an apartment. I could stay up late, go out when I wanted, and never have to answer to anyone. I was living the high life.

But I was still so alone. So lonely, so tired, and in need of a direction to point my life in.

As I said, I didn’t go to my 10 year reunion tonight. I didn’t want to, and don’t feel the need to. There wasn’t anyone there I wanted to see or would’ve felt a connection with. Sure, some acquaintances or people I had class with at one point would’ve been there and I could’ve said ‘hi” and plastered a fake smile on my face. But in all honesty, the only person that would’ve been worth going to see would be myself. To look at myself as I am now, and how I was then, and size up the differences. The changes, the improvements, and the harsh life lessons that have put me where I am. Who knows where I’ll be when the 20 year reunion rolls around? I just hope that when that times comes I look back on my life right now and can say “wow, I remember that – things sure have gotten even better since then.”