The time has come when my university has announced our twenty year reunion. I’m not entirely convinced reunions are a good thing, I say this as my primary school unofficial reunion indicated that 90% of my class had become self made millionaires. Once top of the class, I was now the pleb not being able to afford the drinks.
Anyway, a sneaky peak through the Facebook attendees of my university reunion reveal a group of extremely happy smiling, successful forty year olds able to afford luxurious holidays, exciting career paths and what appear to be very nice lifestyles or a return to academia. I’m not sure how my Facebook feed matches up, I suspect it doesn’t really.
Of course, the reunion also means a return to angst. Maybe I haven’t grown up enough, but I’m still worried that if I cant convince my uni friends to come along with me (and it seems I can’t) I’ll be left standing there whilst the cool kids mingle. Much like re-living university days really when I couldn’t break out into the cool kid circle because of my own shyness and social anxiety. Again, if I cant bring myself to be more confident I might miss out on a world of interesting and exciting networking opportunities.
Perhaps even greater than that though, is the sense of failure that I feel. This morning I woke up and wondered where my life had gone. TWENTY YEARS. I’ve not really achieved, I live in an average house paid for mainly by the husband. I struggle to find the time to complete any academic projects I want to progress. I have a burning desire to go back to university and fulfil my potential but i’m thwarted by finances and the pressures of looking after three children. My career has stalled despite my best efforts and I don’t feel as if i’ve really achieved very much to make a difference in the world. It really upsets me when I think about the little girl that I was with so much potential and a desire to make a mark in archaeology.
When I went to university there was a group of students who all sat on the front row for every lecture and who took all the relevant books out of the library immediately. Us youngsters frowned at them and thought they were rather eccentric. The perspective of time has given me a greater understanding of them and now i’m filled with nothing but respect for them. I suspect many of them are probably dead now.
Where does one go from here? Should I go along and network and mingle and pretend that having children hasn’t thwarted me and put paid to my dreams and ambitions? Should I go and tell the truth and hope that for some at least, the same may have happened to them. Or should I stay at home, save the train fare and try to move forwards never considering what might have been?
I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that twenty year reunions are not necessarily a good thing, no wonder people have mid life crisis. Does this mark the start?