2019 Brings Things Full Circle

April 11, 2019

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen fit to write on this blog. That’s because I came to the conclusion some time ago that I receive limited catharsis from doing so, and also because, since I’m supporting myself as a freelance writer now, I’ve developed an aversion to writing anything for free. Why should I post on the blog when I’m not being paid to do so, and I am, in essence, expending energy for no reason?

The only reason I’m checking in is because I’m between paying jobs at the moment and I’ve been ruminating on events that are taking place in 2019. This year there will be the Walnut Hills Class of 1999 High School Reunion. I attended Walnut Hills, and though I hated high school I readily acknowledge that this institute challenged me academically at a time when it was probably the best thing for me. I needed something to distract me from my parents’ divorce, and two classes in particular served me well in that respect: English and Art.

I never had much aptitude for art, but it’s obvious now that the seeds of my writing career were planted back there in English class, hashing out Romeo and Juliet, The Sun Also Rises, and The Joy Luck Club. I was the brooding loner in the black hoodie who took the contrary view of whatever anyone was saying. Arguing, spitting venom, was a useful outlet for me.

Now, twenty years have gone by. I neglected the chance to attend the ten-year reunion, but maybe I’m more sentimental now, or maybe I just have some degree of morbid curiosity about the remnants of my class. Perhaps I’m just going to see who turned out to be gay or transgender, or who gained the most weight.

To be honest, I don’t completely know what my motivations are for going to the reunion. It’s something I feel compelled to do, so I’m doing it. I learned a long time ago that to question my motivations too much is futile. At the very least, this trip back to Cincinnati in August will present me with a chance to see the bowling team for the first time in ages, the storied D.O.A. who won the League Championship at Madison Bowl by beating a bunch of guys twice and three times our ages.

2019 calls back to my mind thoughts of who I was twenty years ago, what seems like a lifetime and a world away. In the intervening time I’ve grappled with my demons, gotten married and started a family, (of pets, no human children, thank god), and I’ve come to appreciate a kind of mental equilibrium that I once thought it impossible for me to ever achieve.

A lot happens in twenty years, and who knows what will happen in the next twenty? I think that might be part of my reason for wanting to attend this little soiree. I feel that twenty years further down the line there will be even fewer of us Walnut Hills graduates from that fabled class than there will be this time. It becomes a matter of percentages: the more time passes, the fewer of us are left standing. And maybe this line of thinking is part of what draws me back. It’s the thought that I want to show my peers that I survived, that I walked through the maelstrom and I’m still above ground.

Few of these people might be my friends, but we do share some history. I guess, come August, we’ll get a chance to talk about it, and maybe that’s reason enough for me to fly back to the city of my birth for an event that might be auspicious, or perhaps an unmitigated disaster. Time will tell, I suppose. It always does.

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