image: Joe Shlabotnik
After graduating from high school, I attended and graduated from a fairly well-known, private mid-sized university. At the time, this school was one of my “safeties”. Now, this school would certainly not offer me admission if I showed up with the STA scores that I had then. The farthest I’d probably get would be the waiting list. What a difference 14 years makes!
It took me a while to love my school – it was in a part of the country that I had never spent a lot of time in outside of childhood and the culture shock was pretty shocking. It also wasn’t my first choice school and so I had to go through the arduous process of changing my admittedly unrealistic expectations about the right school for me. Nevertheless, I learned to love and fully embrace my school and I can easily report that I had a truly great time in college (and yes, I did get an education).
So, as I looked in the mail box, I saw the familiar logo. It was the school’s quarterly magazine that is sent out to alumni. In the early years after I had graduated, I coveted this quarterly dose of school pride. As the years have passed – in May, it will have been 10 years since I graduated (dear Lord, I can’t believe it) – I have grown less and less excited about receiving this particular tome in the mail. First it was because I no longer recognized anyone in the pictures. Now, as you have probably guessed, it’s a more pernicious reason.
Inevitably, the Class Notes for my year and those immediately preceeding and following it now contain the same announcement over and over again: so and so is pleased to announce the birth of their first, second, even third child. My years-range has moved past the marriage stage (that was a few years ago – what the early aughts are now peppering their announcements with) and we’ve now moved into baby-land.
What’s amazing is that if you go maybe a decade back in the classes (so those who are 20 years out from graduation), there are very few birth announcements and its all about what that person is doing for their career. I am stuck in that time frame where my fellow alum’s only accomplishment has apparently been the fact that they were either knocked up or got someone knocked up and they had a baby. Are people not advancing in their careers so that their only news is this? We’re talking 10 years since graduation!
You have also probably ventured a guess that part of my hostility comes from the fact that I’m jealous as hell. You are absolutely right. But, what I have realized is that in wanting to place that special birth announcement, I would just be adding to the clutter of announcements that, at their minimum, herald and celebrate someone’s fecundity – something I can’t even come close to boasting about, so far. (Can I send in an announcement that I have endured two years of medical intervention to get pregnant and two miscarriages?)
So, I’m not going to wait to place my announcement when we have a child – however and whenever that blessed event may occur. I’m going to find some other recent achievement that highlights my accomplishments since graduation and send that in. Once again, I will change my expectations of what I should be doing and do what I was really meant to do.