Fall arrives at my doorstep and brings with it a variety of feelings. Fall is my favorite season, I’m totally head-over-heels for it, yeah, I fall for fall. There are many happy feelings I experience when I’m in the moment of crisp air, apple smells and brilliant, firework-like foliage. And even more than other seasons, fall makes me nostalgic. It brings me back to earlier times. A blue-gray yet sunny sky transports me back to elementary school soccer seasons where I ran til my cheeks were flushed by both the cool air and the sprinting I did on the field. The smell of warm fallen leaves in the sun brings me back to high school field hockey and blasting terrible but catchy music like Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and anything by P Diddy, oh oops he was Puff Daddy then. Oh, the 90s…
But this fall brings me back to high school more than usual. See, the dates and days of the week are aligned with a certain year in the 90s, and the fall of that year was a particularly pivotal and fun coming of age time for me. And yeah, I know it’s
weird quirky that I know that this year’s dates/weekdays align with a certain year. My memory is a bit freaky and it’s led me to develop some funny habits, like remembering that such and such year in the 90s corresponded in terms of dates/days of the week with this year. It’s just how I roll.
But anyways weirdness aside, I keep thinking ‘Oh it’s Friday October 10th and October 10th was also a Friday in 199x’ and it gets even weirder because I can actually remember what I was doing on that date! I don’t remember that for all the dates but yes for the weekends, I do.
This year in the 90s was… well, it started off pretty rough. But come the fall and the new school year, I was on cloud nine. For a few reasons, I had some new-found independence. In hindsight, I probably had too much freedom. But at the time, it was liberating. Also, two of my besties were social climbers and they’d spent the last year achieving a higher social status. But they weren’t about to leave the rest of our five-girl-clique behind and out of the cool loop (I was by my own account pretty shy and dorky, which makes me damn proud now but I also know my social life would’ve been drastically different if not for my two of my closest friends). Anyways so those two friends had given us all a new social status. My social life was pretty awesome and I was having so much fun. And there wasn’t anywhere I would have rather been or any friends I would have rather had.
Truthfully I still wouldn’t trade those times for the world. Yeah it was high school so it’s not like it was the most amazing time ever. But at that point in time, it was. And while my friends and I maintained roughly the same social status for the rest of high school, things didn’t stay so wonderfully happy. There were sad times and some real sh*t went down. But I’ll never forget the thrill of that fall when everything felt exciting and new and I was so confident in myself and friends.
Of course, we grew up. We’re in our 30s now and I remain close to only two of those girls from our old clique. But I’m so grateful to have them still in my life. They’re amazing women and it adds a certain richness to our friendship to be able to remember firsthand what we all were like in middle school and high school. We will remember the whacky days of that fall, so long ago, and still laugh hysterically. There are still inside jokes we cherish from that time.
And I’m so happy for all of us now. I’m thrilled with how our lives turned out, for all of us, as good ol’ Facebook keeps me up-to-date on the two friends who “got away.” And I’m thrilled to be here now, in our thirties. And. I still miss our adolescence and young(er) adulthood. I can’t help but think my friends don’t hold our memories as dearly as I do. For me, clichés asides, friends are family. Like they really, really are. I am equally at my happiest when I’m spending quality time with my husband as I am when I’m with my closest girl friends. When I think back to high school or even my 20s, I miss how it was with my friends. I miss spending all weekend at my friends’ houses, eating French Toast Crunch (remember that stuff?) and watching TV all night. And in my 20s, there were the constant hang outs and knowing not more than a week would go by before we’d all see each other again. I miss going out, getting Chinese food on the way back home, watching a movie at one of our apartments, passing out and waking up for brunch and more hanging out.
It’s not that stuff like this doesn’t happen anymore. It does. But you know, many of us don’t live that close to each other anymore. Some of us have kids (not me – not yet!). And it’s all been said. Lots of people reflect on how infrequently they see friends after they reach a certain point in life. But it seems like for them it’s something that’s sad but more of an afterthought. Whereas for me, I yearn for it. My whole being craves these times gone by. I catch a whiff of sun-drenched leaves and, as I’m transported back to the 90s, a lump develops in my throat and I fight back tears. Sometimes, I am flooded with happy memories and I miss it all. I miss everything. In fact, I more than miss them, I grieve them as a loss, as something that was but will never be again.
Does this make me immature? Or perhaps just nostalgic and very, very closely connected to my friends? Or both? I don’t feel immature. I feel like someone who has a sharp memory that makes it really hard to forget. I feel like someone who’s been fortunate to have invaluable friendships. And the combination of those two makes me whimsically, grievously and wholeheartedly nostalgic. Not all the time. But now is definitely one of those times.