There’s this episode of “How I Met Your Mother” that Hubby & I recently watched. It’s the episode in which Robin meets up with her Canadian High School boyfriend; a boy who broke her teenage heart in his van after playing a gig with his band, The Foreskins**.  She confesses to her friends that the minute she set eyes on him, she suddenly felt like she was sixteen again; complete with the excitement and butterflies that a “first love” could only elicit. But not only that, Robin found herself acting exactly like she did at that age. 

Marshall, in his wise ways, had developed a term for this type of behavior. He called it “Revertigo” … a phenomenon in which a person reverts back to his or her former self when around certain individuals from their past. In this episode, he uses Lily as an example; having her invite her old high school friend, Michelle, who brings out the “gangsta” in her whenever they’re together. But once separated from one another, they revert back to their normal selves. 

Hubby and I could not stop laughing during the entire episode.*** It was something that we both know happens to me when I get together with my Canadian cousins. When we get together I somehow slip back into this version of myself that I can only call “The American Cousin” — all brash and outspoken with a hint of arrogance (not intentional, of course). But not only that … for some strange insane reason, I also find myself speaking in a Canadian accent; complete with long O’s (as in “sooorry”) and unconsciously adding “eh?” to the end of all my sentences. 

Seriously. We could be in the heart of the continental U.S. and I could suddenly be mistaken for a Canadian! 

The thing is, when experiencing “Revertigo,” every fiber of you begins to revert back to that place and time. All the good and the bad. All the excitement of being at the age that you were and all the insecurities you may have experienced at that time. 

Proof that I was a GleeK in high school

This Saturday is my 20th High School Reunion. And while I debated for a verrrry long time about whether I’d attend, I finally decided that I would skip out on the festivities. I can say that I did it for a number of reasons. The easiest being that I didn’t feel like shelling out the money to see people I really didn’t know that well twenty years ago. Or that I only wanted to see certain people from my graduating class; ones that I’m not even sure will be in attendance. 

I’ll admit that both of those reasons are indeed true; and — in my eyes — valid, as well. But the primary reason is this: I’m just not at the best place that I want to be in my life at this exact moment. I don’t (nor will I likely ever have) the children that I know most of my classmates already have. I don’t have that beautifully maintained home with a well-manicured lawn that my suburban counterparts will also likely have. And I certainly don’t have the job / degree / success in my life that I thought I’d have by this time in my life. 

But I was also a HS Hottie (along with future-SIL), too!

And seeing that this past spring and summer were beyond stressful**** I’m feeling just a leeetle insecure with myself. 

If the phenomenon known as “Revertigo” is true; then all those insecurities and lack of self-confidence I currently have at this point in my life will be twenty-times magnified … like everything tends to be during those “puberty years.” 

Oh, I’m not naive enough to know that my classmates likely feel the same way about themselves in some capacity or another. If anything, I certainly believe that most of us, in our late-thirties, feel like we haven’t accomplished everything that we thought we would have over the last twenty years. 

No, really. I simply don’t want to attend for this simple reason: I’m trying to avoid feeling and acting as if I’m in high school again. And seeing that I’ve had a few major curveballs thrown at me over the past six months, I don’t know if I’d have the strength to combat this bout of “Revertigo.” 

Class of 1990

 One more thing and I’ll go back to being a 38 year old Gen-X slacker … my lack of desire to attend my high school reunion, by no means indicates that I don’t want to see those people I considered close friends during my teenage years.

The way that I look at it is this: If I hadn’t already found you via Facebook (or any other means of communication) … this simply means that you don’t want to be found. And I can respect that need for privacy. And if we were meant to find our way back to one another, then we’ll find each other when the time is right.

To me, friendship is all about every day life; and there shouldn’t be a need to make a big formal deal about it. 


Related Posts:  

Emily gets “Donald Trump’d” 

Emily gets a phone call 

Emily gets her a$$ “U’Hauled” 


** “There were four of us. And we didn’t wear any shirts.” At least that’s how the band name was explained. LOL!  

*** Mainly because Robin’s ex-boyfriend was played by James Van der Beek of “Dawson’s Creek” fame.  

**** A quick recap:

  • I got fired from the job I moved to Chicago for; the one that I hoped would help heal me gain some of that self-confidence that Infertility robbed me of.
  • I found out that Dr. Bro and Dr. SIL have finally made the decision to (successfully) procreate.
  • I recently started and am currently training for a new job that will take my career in a different direction.
  • And in the midst of job-hunting, debated on a move back to Detroit only to decide to stay in Chicago (but move to a smaller apartment); much to the chagrin of family members that wanted us to move back “home.”
  • Oh … and being unemployed certainly didn’t help our financial situation, either.

5 Replies to “Revertigo”

  1. That kind of function is only bearable if you agree to go with a very good friend and you agree to drink too much and escape early to a great dinner. I did this for a work alumni event recently and it enabled me to give a mental f*** you to the partners who f***Ed me over at that place. Plus the booze and dinner were great.

    Good to see you blogging again.

  2. The longer I’m away from home, the harder it seems to slip back in to those Revertigo moments. They’re weird, but comforting to me, and it feels like the farther I go (not just in distance, but in lifestyle, too), the less able I am to fall back into that old Me. And while the “new” Me is just fine, there’s parts of that old Me that I enjoy recapturing, but it’s been a long damn time now since I could see any of those old Kate-ish things in myself.

    Is it possible to grow too far to ever slip back into Revertigo?

    Oh, and I completely skipped my last HS reunion. Not only am I sure that I’m already in contact with anyone from HS that I’d want to see, but furthermore, the ones I’m not in contact with, I definitely DON’T want to see! I mean, I’m okay with where I am in life right now– I dont think that’s the real issue for me– but I’m not okay with seeing others judge where I am in life as lacking in some way. That’s one “Revertigo” bit I have no need to experience again! I just don’t have it in me to be nice to people who were jerky to me in HS! Will I go to my 20-year in a few years? I’m just not sure…

  3. Well I wholeheartedly respect your decision and would have made the same one myself. I can’t even attend my current book club without felling about 500x LESS significant and accomplished and sophisticated and together than when I walked in. Social gatherings during times of personal upheaval are torture. I’ve never been to a high school reunion and never will I’m afraid. Those are times best left forgotten.

    I guess you love the TV show Glee? I do! Great post.

  4. I went to my 10-year reunion with one of my girlfriends (without our husbands). I was never among the popular crowd, & I had a pretty good time — a better time than I had expected. But I was only 28 years old at the time, & there were still a few of us who hadn’t had kids yet (although two of my classmates had had FOUR each by then). I recently heard that one of my good friends from high school is now a grandmother. eeeekkkkk

    Canadians aren’t as faithful about having reunions every 5 or 10 years as Americans are, it seems. There was an all=school reunion about 5 years ago — it coincided exactly with my 20th wedding anniversary. I knew dh would not want to go, much less on our 20th wedding anniversary, so we didn’t. I also wasn’t looking forward to all the questions about kids. I might consider going to a future reunion.

    Re: Revertigo: I noticed ealry in my marriage, when dh is on the phone with his brother, his tone completely changes. His voice takes on a macho Italian Goodfellastype tone & swagger. I called him on it once. He doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.

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