My life has very distinct divisions. (Or at least I like to think of them that way.) There’s everything before I went off to boarding school, boarding school in Wisconsin, St. John’s, Maryland, Boston, Marshall and now Twin Cities 2.0. (That’s a really dumb name, but I’m going to keep it.)
I’ve been thinking about the friendships I’ve made in those areas and how they are different than the friendships my parents had. My dad still goes out to lunch with his “Kindergarten buddies” every year. They were a group that had every class together from elementary to high school. Pretty amazing, right?
I don’t keep in close contact with very many people who knew me before hihg school. I have only vague memories of what type of kid I was. I was in scouts. I played sports (not well), went to summer camps, and cried when I got in trouble. It bugs me that I don’t have any close friends to validate those memories.
But is anyone really the same person they were in elementary school? Probably not. We grow awkwardly. We discover girls, or drugs, or some talent that you never knew you had.
Na, it’s probably because I disappeared to a boarding school in the northwoods of Wisconsin. That changed me. I grew my hair long. I became passionate about things related to community and got to know a group of guys really well. It’s one thing to go from seeing your friends during school and then having sleepovers on weekends to seeing them in class and then sleeping right across the hall from them.
The thing is, I’m not too close with very many of my high school friends either. I still keep in secondhand contact with a lot of them (meaning Facebook) and I’ve been to weddings. I’ve made plans for drinks or dinner when I’m rolling through a town where I know a classmate lives, but I don’t talk with many of them on a regular basis. It’s the occasional check-in.
I do still keep in contact with some of my teachers. I know some people will find that weird, but they’re my mentors, and really, my friends.
I don’t think I have that tight relationship with my high school classmates because my high school doesn’t really exist anymore. It was in the northwoods in a remote place that’s not all that easy to get to. Well, the Conserve School is still there, but it’s not a four-year program. We don’t have regular reunions. And my classmates live all over the country. Also, one of my best friends during that time was my girlfriend, and that relationship didn’t end up how I thought it would when I was a 17-year-old with raging hormones.
My really close friends are mainly from college along with a few I’ve picked up at random times along the way. College friends worked out because we all kind of had a midwestern home base.
Is it bad that I don’t have a group of “kindergarten buddies” like my dad? I don’t know. But there is my pre-adult self that sort of misses discussing and trying to figure out what that all meant.