The Daily Post, Topic #124: Make a prediction about life in 2021.

Tip: Look back at life in 2001 and what you remember thinking 2011 would be like. Compare it to what actually happened. Use that to help you think about predicting something about 2021.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Faces.

That first prompt – the Daily Post topic – came out back in May. I’ve had it saved in draft form for the last four months and had forgotten about it, but when I saw the Photo Challenge topic this morning, it all kinda came together in my head. In May, the charge to look back at 2001 was so perfectly timed. It came out within days of the ten year anniversary of my college graduation. I was full of remembery feelings and Willamette University goodness at the time and just wanted to gather all my Bearcat memories up and hug them and squeeze them and wholly embrace the nostalgia. But then I didn’t write about it and the moment passed. Until today. Faces.

My ten year college reunion is this weekend. I am not going to most of it. In many ways, this astounds me. In about two hours I am going to a Class of 2001 gathering at a bar in downtown Portland, but I am skipping all the Salem festivities this weekend. Whenever the thought of the reunion surfaced over the last ten years, I just assumed I would go. But I also assumed that my people would be there too. I assumed that the faces I spent four years with would wander campus with me – obligatory Star Trees stop, perhaps try to break into one of our old rooms in Kaneko, maybe tempt fate with a Long Island at the Ram.

May, 2001

But they aren’t going, so neither am I.

I am looking forward to this evening, much more so than I thought I would actually. It’ll be a nice mix of people I don’t see very often and some of the usual crew. I expect it to feel less Bearcatty and more Portlandy. Which is fine with me because that’s what my life is now. Portlandy.

I thought about going to Salem tomorrow for about as long as it’s taken me to type this sentence. It feels a little like sacrilege in the Church of Jenny’s Freakish Memory to willingly skip a visit to the place where that steel trap really came into its own, but I just can’t go. I can’t go without those five faces up there. One of them is halfway across the country, one is all the way across the country (and a brand new father) and one is local but would rather chew off his own arm than come to something like this. Of the other two, one comes in and out of my life every couple of years or so and the other no longer speaks to me. So, yeah, I always knew it was a long shot that we’d all end up back in Salem together again someday.

Ten years ago I was four months past my college graduation, living in a dump of a house with three boys, acclimating poorly to the 8-5 world and at the tail end of my relationship with my college boyfriend. Life blew. I really really really missed college. Like a lot. I had never understood people who clung to high school as their glory days, but man, in September 2001, I couldn’t fathom the idea that maybe my best days weren’t behind me. I remember feeling panicky and truly unable to conceive of a way that it could ever get better.

Obviously, it did. And obviously I quickly realized that the first year out of college is pretty much shit for everyone. So, ten years later, I don’t miss college. I wouldn’t go back if I could. I wouldn’t do any of it differently. And while I’m certain of that, I am equally certain that – if I could – I would go to Salem tomorrow with those five faces. It might be weird and awkward and some of us might not know what to say to each other, but hell, that happened to us in college sometimes and we always figured it out.

Whatever awesome stuff happens in my life between now and 2021 (I don’t play the prediction game), I’m pretty sure that in the back of my mind I’ll be hoping that maybe when our 20th reunion rolls around, we’ll all be there.


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