I recently attended my high school reunion, 20 years went by fast. But I didn’t really go to see anyone in particular, I’ve done a good job of keeping in touch with those friends. I went for two reasons. The first being that I didn’t want the same anxiety that plagued me throughout high school, to prevent me from going as it had kept me from participating in so much already. The second being the fact that the invitation reminded us all, that as 18 year olds we had written letters to ourselves that we would open 20 years later. Only I had no recognition of that letter, and I had to know what I said.
So I went with a friend, and we stayed for maybe 30 minutes. Saw a handful of familiar faces, and way more faces I’m sure I had never seen before and I probably won’t ever see again. Which is totally fine with me. Then the box with these letters came out. In 20 years, you’d think they would have been organized, right? Even a little bit. Like, they could have all been facing the same direction. Anyway, I tore my envelope open and fished out my letter. Good to know that in 20 years my handwriting hasn’t improved in the slightest.
I made it through the first paragraph and couldn’t believe how whiney it was. Basically, all I did was list what traumatic events had gone on through those four years. For which, honestly, I think I probably had more than my share. But still, that’s what I wrote? Nothing funny? I made a joke in the yearbook, that in 20 year I’d probably be watching the OJ trial (and hey, there’s a made for TV movie coming, so I wasn’t entirely wrong) but I didn’t even name the real killer in my letter. It was pretty horrible. Like I was going to forget being carjacked, my mother getting cancer or pops being laid off, and I needed a reminder? And even if I needed a reminder why did I have to write it in such a whiney voice? So 20 years later, there was something new to regret about high school. Great night, glad I went. I could have stayed at home and picked lint from my belly button, and felt more satisfied.
But thinking back to that list, and some other trying times I’ve gone through (which I’m not going to list here) and comparing the lowest of my old lows, I can’t help but think that they don’t even compare to the tough times of today, and seeing my daughter struggle with her own fight with anxiety. I’d go through every rough time or bad memory a million times, if I could take this burden off of her shoulders. I’d gladly serve the prison sentence that was handed out to my carjackers, if it meant she could wake up tomorrow morning without that excruciating weight on her shoulders.