Carolina in My Mind

I'm packing up to hit the road, but this time not for work. Imagine that! Tomorrow I'll be heading down to North Carolina for my fifth year college reunion. I've been looking forward to this since last fall when life looked a lot different.

I haven't been talking about  my ex SCL on the blog much anymore, but he's been on my mind this week, mostly because of this reunion. This may be the last occasion that I'd really looking forward to doing together. My college is the one place I idealize, and I smiled at the thought of worlds colliding, of bringing him into my circle of friends and beloved professors and memories. I pictured the ring that would inevitably be on my finger by then, one like this, and how I'd get to talk with my old classmates about save-the-dates and honeymoon plans. 

It was a pretty picture. And now it's another loss. 
My college town is straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. It's got a Main Street with an old-school soda shop. The town is manicured and picturesque  in a way that normally would irritate me. I love the city, especially for its diversity and realness. But for me this college town is my happy place, the one place I've forgiven all the bad and romanticized the reality. I think we all need something like that.

But, I don't feel like I'm going to fit back into that pretty picture. I see my classmates who seem to fit right in with their gorgeous wedding photos and chubby-cheeked cherub children. They will fit, I think to myself. But me? I feel like I've fallen behind on some understood timeline, that regardless of its ridiculousness does at times like these make me feel inadequate. 

As much as I don't want it to, I realize that this weekend may bring feelings of loneliness, of grief, and I should try to prepare myself for that possibility. It's an opportunity for me to practice that kindness toward self that I keep talking about, to allow for the space to feel what I'm feeling. And, I also know it's going to be fantastically fun to be back in my college town. I've already got three catch-up sessions with my favorite professors lined up! And of course I will enjoy seeing old friends and talking about old times.

So, it will be a bittersweet weekend, but one that I'm looking forward to regardless. It's just one of those times I really wish I could share with SCL.

12 comments:

  1. woah! where in NC did you go?
    I just ask cause I want to UNC-CH :) Small world, no?
    Have fun! (My 5th is in 2 years...crazy!)

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  2. I hope you have some fun! I can imagine it would bring up some crappy memories but I just hope you have some fun anyway. :)

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  3. Not everyone will have that life lady. I mean, hell, I see that in the people I went to high school with. Sure, some managed that college degree/married/children thing going on. But some haven't finished college, having gotten married, haven't had kids.

    You're going to have fun, I just know it!

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  4. Yep, Davidson--my favorite place on earth!

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  5. That ring IS hella-awesome. If nothing else, you have good taste.

    And like I said to you on the Metro last night -- you paid $50 to have access to an open bar. Get your money's worth.

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  6. I know how you feel about the timeline. I'm way older than you and I'm unmarried and childless and when I go to events like reunions I definitely feel left out. But I agree with Krysten...I'm sure there will be other people there in the same boat you are in. I'm sending you good wishes for a fun and relaxing weekend. And I think DateMeDC's idea to take advantage of the open bar is a good one.

    Enjoy the trip...I can't wait to hear all about it.

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  7. I think even harder than the loss of a relationship is the death of a dream. It will be nostalgic and wistful. Maybe one day it will be a place of sweet memories again, after more of the hurt fades? (I hope this for myself someday.) I'll be thinking about you on your trip.

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  8. Another Tar Heel here wishing you a very happy weekend in the old north state. Although it's been forever since I've been back to Carolina, I think that's better because my Chapel Hill doesn't exist any more. Parts have been torn down and rebuilt and, god, the students are so, so very, very young.

    I think I'm the last of my friends to not be married yet. Of course, I've yet to be divorced like some of my friends. So I've got that going for me. Just because everyone else raced off to the alter doesn't mean you have to. Life is meant to be lived and, when the time is right, shared with someone special.

    Oh how I long for some barbecue.

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  9. Your post reminds me of another from Sociological Images, about a "normal" life course: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/11/13/illustrating-a-normal-lifecourse/

    It's important to remember, there is no normal lifecourse. There's just society telling you that there is. Do your own thing :)

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  10. Dude, why do you have an xmas tree up in November? That's just freakish.

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  11. didn't know you went to Davidson?? very funny...we stopped in earlier this year but it was on Sunday and everything was closed...there is a new farmers market that is supposed to be fun and a new restaurant

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