Ten Years

Speaking of high school classmates and trying to remember people, I was added to a new group on Facebook yesterday – my high school’s ten year reunion.

Huh.

It’s one of those crazy things. Like, I know that logically, mathematically, it’s been ten years since I graduated high school. Class of ’06 means a ten year reunion in 2016. I get that. But still…. huh? How has it been ten years? It seems ages ago but also not that long. Scrolling through the member list is like browsing through a year book, except all of the pictures are current. Weird. Some classmates I instantly recognize; other pictures give me pause, as I try to search out the familiar in the face of a stranger.

Of course, people have already started posting on the group’s board. Most of the messages express the same feeling I have – ten years already!! holy cow we’re getting old – while others are asking about details of the reunion and a couple others are downright rude. (One guy I remember as being kind of a dick in high school made the comment that duh guys, 2006 plus ten is 2016 so the reunion being this year should surprise no one… are we all that idiotic?? And then someone else chimed in that it was even more amazing that most of the people attending would be the ones that didn’t have their shit together yet, even though they’ve had ten years….. pinches bridge of nose, remembers why I unfollowed these people in the first place)

I haven’t decided if I’ll go yet. I keep talking to (current) friends, asking if they went and why and what it was like. Luffy didn’t go to his, didn’t even consider going. He argued that he kept up with everyone he would want to talk to so he didn’t need to go back. One friend I spoke to says it’s just like high school and that she actually reverted back a bit to her high school self. Another friend said that she had a lot of fun and that it was interesting to see high school personas drop (for instance, to view the once popular kids as just regular people – level the playing field a bit – which is intriguing to me as I was definitely not part of the popular crowd). And yet another friend remarked that it wasn’t anything super fun or special, but that you also only get the chance to go once. I will never have another ten year reunion. Fair point.

In high school, as I mentioned above, I wasn’t part of the cool kids. My high school had a magnet program and an AP/IB program, which I was part of, which made it almost a school within a school. I graduated with a class of over 500, yet I regularly had class with maybe 150 of those people. I was part of a dance spirit team which sort of made me popular, I suppose, but more in the sense that people knew who I was and generally accepted me. I was still uber shy and reserved, plus I was, I’ll be honest, a goody-two-shoes in high school. I was not the person you would invite to join in on illicit things (drugs! alcohol! sex! oh noes!!). I never got invited to any parties or hangouts or anything like that – didn’t even know about them. I really honestly thought that whole side of high school was for fiction or TV, but, in hindsight, I’m sure it was happening and I just didn’t know about it. I didn’t spend a lot of time with anyone outside of class. Other than Liz, I wouldn’t say I was really close friends with anyone from high school. I was good friends with a few, good acquaintances, you could say, with many more, but not super close. There are definitely people I would enjoy saying hi to again, assuming they even decide to come in the first place.

In the ten years since I’ve graduated high school, I’ve gotten an advanced degree and my CPA license. I’ve seriously pursued fitness (and thus have gotten into better shape than I was then). I’ve moved away from the comfort of my hometown. I finally realized my own self-worth and broke up with an abusive boyfriend. I’ve tackled a high-pressure job. I left the high-pressure job and landed in a spot that I really enjoy. I met and married the love of my life and the smartest, most genuine person I know.

I’m doing really, really well. I’m not sure that I want to revisit the person I was back then.

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When to stop reaching out

Question: At what point in a fading relationship do you stop reaching out? At what point do you, metaphorically, call it quits and stop calling/emailing/texting? At what point do you admit that that person, whomever they may be, doesn’t mean the same thing to you anymore?

My title makes it seem like I have an answer to my question, but I don’t. It’s something I’m working through right now.


I have (had?) a best friend, Liz (who I first talked about here). To recap, Liz was my best friend all through school. We were inseparable until our life paths diverged. I moved away while she stayed put. I got married while she doesn’t date. I am trying to have a child and Liz has always been fairly certain she doesn’t want children (I’ll be your children’s Aunt Liz she always told me). Since I wrote that original post, we’ve exchanged one round of catch-up emails and one round of happy-birthday texts.

I found out today, via Facebook, that she’s approaching a major milestone in her life. She’s graduating from Grad school this spring (I knew that much), and then she’s moving away from our hometown because she received a full-time job offer. It’s something that’s in her field of expertise, and one of her dream jobs actually – if not quite her dream location (she’s still going to be in West Texas and I know she’d love to move some place like Colorado or New Mexico if she could). A huge moment for her. And I found out through Facebook.

To be fair, in this day and age a lot of information gets disseminated through Facebook, even if it’s something important. Almost especially if it’s something important (let’s face it, it’s fun to see those Likes add up!). But it did make me question – is it too late for our friendship? And will I kick myself later on in life if I’ve let our relationship fall by the wayside?

Lately, our emails have become shorter and shorter. Quick updates about ourselves and our families. We don’t text. I tried to get her to Gchat with me, but that didn’t go over. We’ve been looking for ways to make our communication easier and faster (like I said in my first post, laziness probably kept us friends for far longer than it should have), but nothing’s worked out so far. Plus, over electronic communication, the spark and pop that made our friendship shine isn’t there. Or has it faded with time? We haven’t talked to each other on the phone in so long that I have no idea if it’s still there.

And while it would be far easier to stop emailing or calling and demote the woman who once was my BFF to Facebook friend, will I be ok with that decision? In ten years, will I look back and truly miss her and regret that I didn’t keep making the effort? Right now it feels like I’m the only one in the relationship making any effort (I’m always the one who initiates our communication), but perhaps once she’s settled into a job – will she have more time to chat? Or maybe if she eventually gets married – will we find common ground again? Or maybe once I have children – will she make the effort to be involved in their lives like she once promised me she would?

I feel like I’m on a precipice right now. I can either keep up the friendship, even though it’s already feeling one-sided. Or I can sit back and let it fade. We all know that friendships – relationships – take work. They don’t just happen, so I won’t kid myself that our friendship would magically continue if we were to both stop trying. Part of me is interested to see if I would ever hear from her again, but the other half of me doesn’t want to test that. And, let’s be honest, I’m sure there are thousands upon thousands of “childhood friends” that didn’t make it into “adulthood friends.”

But.

But, there’s so much history between me and Liz. We spent so much time together when we were young. We laughed so hard and knew just how to make each other smile. I’m not ready to give up on that yet. I’m not ready to let her fade away.

So I’m not sure when I’ll stop putting in the effort to reach out to her, to say hello and ask her how her life is going, but it won’t be today. Today I’ll email her, ask her about her new job and wish her the very best.

 

Can we talk about makeup??

So I have never been a girly-girl when it comes to hair and makeup. Shoes? Check, yes, many, many shoes in ridiculous, non-sensible fashions. Dresses? Check. Shiny things? Duh, of course, check. But hair and makeup? Not at all. I’m really not sure what happened along the line that got me here. I don’t have thick, long, “play-able” hair so I’m sure that has something to do with it. My hair is baby fine and thin, and has never done well at long lengths so has remained fairly short my entire life. I’m generally ok with this and get by on the same style pretty much every day (with my short bob this means blow dry and straightener – except when it was a little bit longer, in which case I did absolutely nothing and let it air dry and OMG I am so lazy).

Makeup though, I just don’t get. I danced throughout grade school and college, so I can do stage makeup, but every day makeup? Nope. I have two different eye shadow pallets, one magenta and one neutral. I have mascara. I have a tinted moisturizer. Oh, and I have a blush…… and that’s it. I don’t have foundation or veils or concealers or brow gels or blenders or angled brushes. I don’t contour or mask in any way. Now, I know this sounds kind of braggy, like, “oh I don’t do that, but clearly I’m not pelted with stones to excuse my heathen self from the room so I must be just fine without it!!” but hear me out.

One of my Facebook friends sells makeup and her feed’s pretty much been reduced to advertisements and how-to videos. I just watched one where she started with a clean face and applied a lot of different products (the video was over four minutes, even at a time-lapse) and ended with her “every day” face. My first reaction was a bit of repulsion because, seriously, I don’t even spend that long applying my own makeup, at a full speed version. But then, I thought to myself, she does look pretty good now. Some red splotches on her cheeks had been covered and she had concealed bags under her eye. Some contouring tricks had smoothed out her face and her lipstick looked amazing. Would I look better like that?

I always wonder, how little effort is too little effort? I’m still young, turning 28 in a few weeks, but at what point do my previous half-assed attempts not cover it anymore? At what point am I going to legitimately need more makeup? And will I recognize it? Or will I wander around at 30 or 40 or 50 with a mostly bare face and an extremely inflated opinion of said face?

Luffy’s no help because he is wonderfully and woefully unconcerned with physical appearance and what other people think. Which is great when I look like crap and he still thinks I look beautiful, but not so great when he suggests that a fancy restaurant will surely be ok with athletic shoes and a pony tail. Or when he opts for a nap in lieu of getting his hair cut before our wedding, true story.

For the past nine years, I had been comforted with the thought that I lucked into pretty great skin. I never had breakouts or even acne really, only an occasional small blemish that went away quickly. When I went off birth control last year, I found that the pill was helping my skin along more than I realized. It’s still nothing terrible, but, as I sit here today, I have four or five active blemishes and numerous marks from old ones that are still clearing up. So… is that a sign? An answer to one of my questions above? Have I passed that point? I hardly notice them, but do other people? And does that even bother me to begin with?

Honestly, it really doesn’t. I suppose the moral of this story is that I probably won’t change – even at 30 or 40 or 50. I’ll probably always be that woman who thinks a dash of mascara is getting myself all fancified. And even if that means I won’t be the loveliest 64-year-old in the room, I think I’m ok with that. Hey, at least I get to save those extra 30 minutes every morning, so I suppose there’s an upside.

When you fall out of friendship

I’m at an interesting point in my life right now. I’m four years out of college, nine years out of high school. I’ve been in the professional world for four years, at my current job for two. I’ve been in a relationship with Luffy for three years. I haven’t lived in my hometown in four years. I’m moving farther away from my school years and my adolescence, which means that I find myself falling out of friendships.

If you were to ask me, right now, who my best friend is, I’d say Liz. I’ve known Liz since I was in the third grade and we’ve been best friends since sixth grade. We were inseparable. We went to the same middle school, high school, and college. We talked constantly, always made sure to pair up for any school assignments that we could, and consulted each other on every important matter (re: a clear phone for my room – the coolest or the lamest??). I knew her phone number by heart and it’s still one of the few phone numbers I actually know. (My brother’s cell number, for instance, I have no idea what it is since I always had a cell phone to store it.) She’s the answer to all of my security questions. She was the maid of honor at my wedding because of course she was, she’s my best friend.

So yes. Liz is my best friend. Except that my wedding was also the last time I saw her. We last exchanged emails at the end of June. My phone tells me the last time I called her was … oh wait, my phone’s log doesn’t go back that far. She’s never seen my home. She’s only visited me twice since I moved to Dallas and I’ve visited her once while I was home for the holidays. It’s not that we don’t enjoy each other’s company or talks; it’s just that life got in the way.

One of my favorite bloggers over at Wait But Why put together a post a couple months back that really hit home. In it, he discusses the different types of friendships people have and how those friendships can be good, bad, or quirky. For me, Liz is a blend of types six and seven – “The Historical Friend” and “The Non-Parallel Life Paths Friendship.” The whole article is interesting and humorous, so I suggest you go read it (or anything Tim writes, he’s hilarious), but in the meantime, a little summary of the two:

  • The Historical Friend – Someone you became friends with when you were really little and then stayed friends with throughout the years. The catch here is that you would not be friends with this person if you met today because you just don’t mesh now.
  • The Non-Parallel Life Paths Friend – Basically, Tim talks about where I am right now. (It’s like he’s speaking to me!) Up to about the age 24 or so, everyone is on somewhat the same life path and moves through the different phases about the same time. Most of this has to do with school, right, everyone graduates at roughly the same age. But now, after college, people start maturing and branching off at different paces. And these different paces can suddenly mean that you don’t have much in common anymore.

Now I imagine there are a lot of us out there with friends who fall in between those two categories (especially if you’re about my age). For me, Liz is a casualty of this. She’s not quite a full-on Historical Friend because I do like her and we might possibly still become friends if we were to meet today. We do still enjoy our talks, when we have them, if we have them. She’s not quite a full-on Non-Parallel Life Paths Friend because we’re not the “darker, more permanent” type that Tim goes into (go read!), but it still describes our relationship fairly accurately.

For us, we are both studious, type A girls with a silly sense of humor. We both like to read and we both appreciate a job well-done. But now that school’s over, that doesn’t get us very far. Our life paths are completely different. She graduated college with an art degree and started part time work, trying to figure out if there was anything she could do with her obscure degree. I studied accounting and then went on to graduate school. After I graduated, I moved to Dallas and began working full time. She decided to go back to school then to get her masters. During all of that, I had gone through an abusive relationship and come out the other side while she had spent her college years not really dating anyone at all. Fast forward a couple of years and now I’m married and trying to have children and she’s still working on her masters degree and hoping to find a job within the next six months. She’s also fairly sure she never wants children and has no interest in finding a life partner beyond her pets right now.

Like Tim said, we don’t have that much in common anymore. Proximity (and, let’s face it, laziness) kept us friends for far longer than we probably would have been otherwise. Now our emails are short and our missed calls go un-returned.

In some ways, it’s sad. She was my rock throughout grade school and now we can barely gather the enthusiasm to catch each other up on our lives. Time, and distance, has a way of deteriorating even the best of relationships. On the brighter side, I’ve also been introduced to a lot of new people – through my work here and through my husband. So as I’m letting go of some friendships, I’m reaching out for new ones.