Nostalgia Reality Check: My High School Yearbook

"I will be rich" and other declarative statements from my senior year.
Publish date:
October 7, 2011
high school, nostalgia reality check, yearbook

October belongs to me. It's my birthday month. Yes, I'm an only child.

Involuntary narcissim aside, I promise every time I look at a clock it mocks me with a 10:28, colon flashing like a warning. AM or PM, it doesn't matter. I glance at something digital, which is to say everything, and the cable box or the convection oven tells me how much further away I am from this girl.

The "I will be rich" quote had to be a direct response to, "Where do you see yourself in 10 years?" I answered without hestation. You should also know that the Class of 1998's 10-year high school reunion was three years ago. Bank of America didn't get that evite.

I take the countdown to 31 pretty seriously only because it's so much "older" than I ever imagined myself being back when I was 17 and starting at go. You're talking about a girl who thought she'd be rich by 27, nevermind the student debt to income ratio. Seriously? And no, I'm not a birthday hater. Actually, I'm obsessed with what they represent -- rebirth.

Therefore, the tenth month of the calendar has always marked the beginning of my new year. As such I've decided to reflect on "old acquaintances" that've been forgot as told through the vintage signboards of a bygone era -- the yearbook message.

On the very first page is a message that reads, "Always remember ABSTINENCE!" which was immediately preceded by, "I know you want ? Body!" I really have no clue who wrote this, but I do know exactly who Question Mark is.

"Helena is Dope. I know you know this because you say it everyday. But it's true." To say I was madly in love with Jason, the quarterback of our 8-man football team, for an entire school year is to say I breathed air. High off a highball of Arizona Iced Tea, I asked Jay to prom even though he had a girlfriend who went to a different school. He said yes, we took a picture with his hand so on my ass. Afterward we stayed up all night watching "Grease." So I guess the abstinence thing was real.

"I know you'll be a successful professional dancer." Oh, Eric. It was a big deal that we were the only two people in our class moving to the east coast. I remember how excited I was to be going somewhere so far and foreign. Eric went to Princeton and we were so sure we'd see each other alllll the time. I think I saw him at a football game once. Crazy thing is, Eric was an editor of our high school literary magazine, Writer's Bloc. He used to hound me for stories, calling me "a prolific writer." I said I had better things to do.

"Don't worry the bridesmaids dresses will be gorgeous!" Me and Jeanne, my cheerleading co-captain and confidant, had a running joke that neither one of us could have ugly bridesmaids dresses. Because obviously we were going to get married after college and be in each other's weddings. I missed Jeanne's wedding, which I was not in because I shouldn't have been, because of a seriously last-minute interview with the New York Times. She totally understood but it sucked nonetheless. Also, there's a "dance like nobody's watching" postscript because dance was my entire life back then.

"I never meant to hurt you and I hope you forgive me, because I forgive you." My first lesson in Jedi mind fucking, Kelly was the first boy I ever kissed or did anything with. I didn't let another boy see my bra until freshman year of college. Anyway, not too long after the kiss, which happened in the drama room right before my AP Bio class, he called me (with some other girl staying silent on three-way) and announced, "It's not there anymore." So naturally we were at war, which was hard because there were only 35 people in our entire graduating class. Also, we hooked up in a "I was totally still a virgin" sense right before I left for Columbia. Shut up.

Adulthood comes in little crumbs. Every year you follow them to a school, job, city or relationship that gets you that much closer to being grown up. But who's to say you ever truly get there? Because once the painstaking work of picking up a bunch of accomplishments is done, then what? That's why every October I like to check in with the me from last year, two years ago, 10. To see if I'm leading us all in the direction we thought we'd be in. The whole rich thing? Still in the ideas phase. But I'm hopeful for next year.

And what about you guys? I know I'm not the only one who likes to trip the memory lane fantastic. If senior year you could see you now, what would she say?