Reflections on My Fifteen-Year College Reunion (Or “Twenty-Two Signs You’re Not Twenty-Two Anymore.”)
I’m as surprised by this as you are. Really.
In fact, the realization that I’m getting on in years didn’t really sink in until last weekend when I went to my fifteen-year college reunion.
FIFTEEN YEARS, YOU GUYS. That’s, like, a lot of years.
I could have produced a new human in that amount of time!
In fact, many of my college classmates have produced new humans in that time. Some of them have even produced more than one human.
That totally boggles my mind.
I mean, it seems like just yesterday I was shotgunning beers in the shower with these people. And smuggling Cap’n Crunch cereal out of the cafeteria in our pants. And then ordering Papa John’s pizza at two o’clock in the morning on a school night.
How is it possible that we’re old enough to be in charge of other humans now? That cannot be possible. It just cannot.
I still totally feel like I’m the same twenty-two-year-old I was when I graduated.
I’m still prone to wearing bad pants. And I still haven’t figured out what to do with my hair. Or my life, really.
Sure, I have arthritis in one knee and the metabolism of a garden snail. And just the thought of eating pizza at two o’clock in the morning gives me indigestion.
But, other than that, I haven’t changed a bit.
Or so I thought.
Until last weekend when I started to notice some signs – signs that it is entirely possible I am, in fact, not twenty-two anymore.
So I came up with this handy, dandy list of those signs. Maybe you’ll recognize some of these signs from your own life. If so, it’s possible that you, too, are kinda, sorta, a little bit old like me.
And I’m sorry.
Twenty-Two Signs That You’re Not Twenty-Two Any More1. Despite the fact that the reunion is all the way in Ohio and will take you at least a few hours to get there, you don’t get on the road until three o’clock in the afternoon.
This is because you spend all day finishing up work and cleaning your apartment.
After all, you wouldn’t want to come home to unfinished work and a dirty apartment. That would just be horrible.2. You make a point of packing sneakers.
You tell yourself this is because you’re going to go running.
But you know this is because at some point in the weekend, you’re going to need to ditch your flip-flops and wear sneakers. Even if they look totally stupid with your pants.
Because arch support, you guys. It’s a real thing.3. A trip that used to take you only four hours now takes you five.
This is because you stop at all the rest stops.
You tell yourself that this is simply because you’re better hydrated than you were when you were twenty-two.4. Prior to your arrival at the reunion, your friend texts you to ask you to pick up a few things so you can have a get-together later.
The list includes citron vodka and lemons.
Yep, you’re so old your list of party essentials includes fresh fruit. Probably to prevent you all from getting some kind of scurvy.5. You arrive at the dorm room where you’ll be staying for the weekend.
You discover there are no hangers. How are you going to hang up all your clothes so they don’t get all wrinkley?
Also you’re a little bit worried about what that dorm bed is going to do to your back.6. You go to bed at eleven o’clock.
Even though your friends have texted you to meet them for drinks somewhere.
You tell yourself that you’re doing this because you want to wake up early and go running.
But the truth is that you’re exhausted. Because five hours of driving is apparently way too much exertion for your thirty-seven-year-old, bad self.7. You actually wake up early and go running.
Instead of running on the fancy-schmancy school track, you decide to run into town. You tell yourself this is because you want to check out the downtown area. This is really because the college campus is built on a hill above the town making it entirely possible to run downhill for most of your run.
Until you have to get back up the hill. At which point you start walking.8. When you meet up with your college friends who have brought their kids with them, you say the same stuff your parent’s friends used to say to you as a kid.
Stuff like, “Wow, the last time I saw you, you were just a little baby!” Or “Look at you! You’re so big! How old are you now?” Or “What’s your favorite subject in school?”
The kids give you the same blank stare you used to give your parent’s friends. The blank stare that says, “Who is this old person? And why do all old people say the same dumb things?”9. You walk around campus marveling at all the new changes.
Or at least you think they’re new changes.
You find yourself asking your classmates, “Did they have this when we went here?” Because you honestly can’t remember. You’d think you’d be able to remember stuff like the existence of an entire building. But you can’t.10. You’re particularly mystified by all the new drink machines that have popped up everywhere on campus.
You start saying stuff like, “Enhanced water? What the heck is that? We had to drink our water directly from the tap! And look at how we turned out! Just fine!”
And “Cappuccino? In the library? Kids these days!”11. You volunteer to set up a Facebook page for your alumni class.
And then some college kid asks you if you’re going to need some help with that.
When you explain to her that you’re actually a blogger and you’re pretty good with the social media stuff, she just nods her head like, “Sure, you are, old lady.”
You’re tempted to tell her exactly how many Twitter followers you have just to “show” her. But then you decide that probably wouldn’t be too mature.12. You have a few hours to kill in the afternoon so you go shopping.
Bargain housewares.13. Your idea of pre-gaming the night’s festivities includes going to a fancy-pants wine bar in town.
You spend seven dollars on half a glass of Pinot Grigio and eat cheese off of a tiny plate.
You say things like, “Wow, I wish they had this kind of place when we went to college.” As if you would have ever spent seven dollars on a glass of anything when you were in college.14. You decide to go to the drive-through liquor store for old time’s sake.
You find yourself asking the clerk if they have a white wine that isn’t “too oaky.”15. You make a point of eating plenty of dinner because you know you’re going to be drinking later.
You wouldn’t want to drink on an empty stomach. That would be bad.
You also make the point of eating salad. Because you’re feeling like you could really use some nutrients.16. At the all-classes party later, you dance.
You don’t remember ever dancing much in college. Probably because you didn’t go to the types of parties where people danced. And also because you were too concerned about looking stupid.
But you don’t really care about looking stupid anymore. You’re not really sure when you stopped caring about that kind of thing. But you’re really glad you did. Because dancing is so much more fun than worrying about if you look stupid.17. You hitch a ride on a golf cart — the ones that you’re pretty sure are just reserved for the seventy and over set.
You could walk all the way back to the dorm, but that seems like a kind of far way to walk and you’re a little bit tipsy. Besides, your feet are totally killing you because you forgot to change out of your flip-flops and into your sneakers.
You ask the student volunteer driving the golf cart, “Is it weird seeing all these old people like us get drunk?”
He responds,“Not really. I used to work at a nursing home.”18. At a dorm party with your fellow classmates, you attempt to drink something called a Buzz Ballz.
You’re pretty sure drinking anything with that many Z’s in the name is a bad idea, but you still try it.
When you discover it tastes exactly like suntan lotion, you stop drinking it. Even if there is some perfectly good alcohol in there.19. Although you love hanging out with your friends, you find yourself nursing a bottle of cider and secretly hoping security shows up to break up the party so you can go to bed already.
When you do go to bed already, it feels like it’s four o’clock in the morning.
It’s barely midnight.20. The next day you meet friends for lunch before leaving town.
You order something with lots of spinach in it because, again, you’re feeling the need to have more nutrients in your diet.
Your friend, who ordered a bacon burger and onion rings, makes a joke about having to take extra Lipitor that night.21. You start driving home right after lunch.
You’re tired and you’re looking forward to sleeping in your own bed that night.
Plus, you want to be home in time to watch Long Island Medium.22. You honestly can’t remember having that much fun with such an awesome group of cool people in a really long time.
You hope this isn’t just because you can’t remember anything any more.Have you attended a college or high school reunion? How did it go? Did it make you feel old? What other signs have you noticed that you might be kinda, sorta, a little bit old?