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Sunday, July 12, 2009

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The Class of 87 Turns Forty

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(delivered to my senior class, Corner Brook, Newfoundland, July 11, 2009.)

A high school reunion is a time of reckoning. At some point during this midlife rite of passage--say, as you step out on the dance floor for an interpretive heavy metal dance solo, or as you scheme with your classmates to t.p. the houses of local alumni who are no-shows, you have to ask yourself the existential question, what am I doing here?

When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to get away from it. Let’s be honest, I didn’t wait. I skipped classes most of my senior year, got my diploma, went to prom, and split. Like everyone here tonight, I grew up, and had a life. As I got older, those three years kept getting smaller. Cynicism about them in my twenties faded to indifference by my thirties. High school was a vanishing point in my rearview mirror, just a place I passed through in a hurry a long time ago.

Turning forty is another time of reckoning. The number is an arbitrary mile marker. Supposedly it represents the halfway point in life, but none of us knows how long--or strange--a trip this is. We have friends who didn’t make it this far. But judging by the horrified expressions of the twentysomethings who watched our takeover of their night club on Broadway last night, it’s fair to say the Class of ’87 is officially middle-aged. Yeah, We Shook You. All Night Long.

My birthday is a few months away, but mile four-oh is in sight. And as I approach it, I begin to sense that the road is curved. My thoughts circle back more often to my youth. I google names I haven’t thought of in years. I find myself listening to Journey songs. Non-ironically. Just a small town girl.

And though I would have said you were out of your mind had you predicted it twenty two years ago, my response to the first suggestion that we hold this reunion was a mighty Hell Yeah. I drove 2,500 miles for seven days in a minivan with three kids and my husband. Not to compare resumes, bank balances or hip circumferences. Not just to see my bffs. And not to keep my house from being tp’d some day. But to honor the place and time I came from, to embrace the people who knew me when, and to connect with the part of myself that is forever seventeen, no matter what the birthday card says.

And to laugh my ass off.

Thank you for being here. Happy fortieth.

22 Comments:

Blogger Cassie said...

Your blog entry today made me smile! I graduated in 1987 GO FALCONS! I turn 40 next month. I joined Facebook and have reconnected with so many HS friends that I'd long forgotten about. Good times, man.. good times!

10:43 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Nice nice post.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Class of '86 here, been there and done that. Standing on this side, I like to watch you young'uns come across.
Take care!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Gary Kelly said...

Regina eh? Regina class of 84 here. The first grade 12 (Level III) in NLFD. Also graduated from Presentation because someone burned down Regina just before our graduating year. I really enjoy your blog.

http://garykelly.ca

2:19 PM  
Blogger Jomama said...

Great post! I'm getting ready to go to my 25th--it is really interesting to see how we all turned out. How some of us have really grown and changed. And some...not.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Don't stop believin'...

4:43 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

My husband graduated in 1986, and just celebrated his 41st birthday on July 7. Yeah...I love putting that bit of information all over the blogosphere.

He refuses to go to any of his reunions though... says he has no desire to see "the old crew" -- probably because they used to party too much.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Wonder Woman said...

love this post. class of 94 here but they are tearing down my old high school this month, so last month the school had a day where all old alumni could attend. it was so strange walking the halls with my old friends. so, so strange. and so seventeen.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Cid said...

I'll be attending my 25th this fall and 40 was three years ago but in my heart I am 18 (Ontario used to have Grade 13) and listening to The Police. Glad you're having such a great time back home.

9:25 AM  
Blogger jana said...

I turned 40 in 2007l If I'd known it was so good, I'd have done it sooner.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Bernice said...

Great commentary on reunions. My 20th is coming up this summer (Herdman). And I like especially your line about reconnecting with that part of you that will always be 17. Thanks for sharing.

9:40 AM  
Blogger rlu9 said...

Another class of 87 and glad to see my class wasn't the only one to skip "20" and go for the unusual - we did 21 years last year (in combo with the class of 88 which seems a bit more on the ball) which I promptly decided not to attend as they wanted $90 a head to hang out at a local club - don't drink, don't remember most of you, guess some of the "slacker" tag fits after all.

7:01 PM  
Blogger rlu9 said...

Dang, meant to add, still think Journey's Escape is one of the best albums ever.

7:02 PM  
Blogger V said...

For me 40 is a little more than a month away (I still haven't made any plans yet). This post and comments make me hopeful! Maybe I'll party like it 1999! Thanks

7:48 PM  
Blogger Kristy - Where's My Damn Answer said...

I went to my 20 yr reunion and thought it was a complete waste of time. I had a few friends that we talked to, but I felt that the kids ... turned adults ... but still kids were really shallow and hadn't evolved beyond the high school mentality.

In fact, after mine, my husband decided he didn't want to go to his because of our experience.

Glad your experience was different. That's actually what "I" was hoping for in mine :-D

11:51 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Kristy, we definitely regressed to adolescence over the weekend. But in a really good way. :-)

8:24 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

Absolutely love your blog Kyran.
I loved every minute of this past weekend and our reunion as well.

It was so great seeing you again.
I hope to see you at the next one......please God there will be a next one!

Take care :-)

6:55 PM  
Blogger Schmutzie said...

You've made me think that I just might attend my 20th high school reunion next June.

Love your boyfriend jacket.

6:59 PM  
Blogger ChiefExecOrganizer said...

Kyran, I am right there with you!! Class of 87, baby! And I am turning forty next month. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this post. XOXO.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Kaza said...

Class of 85 here, woot, woot!

7:43 PM  
Blogger Nacho said...

Why did you want to tp the houses? Wouldn't you rather know why they did not attend instead?!

8:46 AM  
Blogger Kyran said...

Nacho, trust me, it was a very idle and good humored threat.

8:57 AM  

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