Saturday, August 27, 2011

They All Grow Up

I am an epic stalker.
Sometimes it gets me in trouble (like driving past "Eddie's" house back in high school and totally getting caught) and sometimes it leads to juicy info (like who is getting divorced but doesn't want to blab about it yet). Other times, it gets downright creepy. And on one boring day at the office recently, it took that turn.
A bit of a backstory... when I was in high school, I worked at a summer camp for years. There were kids who melted my heart, kids who drove me insane, and kids I will never remember. However, the last summer I worked there, when I was 17, there was a core group of kids that had a profound impact on me. They kept me grounded and serious that last carefree summer before college. I babysat some outside of work, became friends with some of the parents, and even took adorable twin 10 year old girls to a boy band concert. Those kids were my world that summer and I looked forward to hanging out, playing, and just reverting back to my own childhood. It was the best job in the world.
So in a fit of uber-boredom one day, I randomly remembered one of the kids first and last names. Most of the kids, I just remember their first names... Stephen, Andy, Ryan (a boy and a girl), Mikey, Savannah, Shelby, and a little boy with glasses I called "Squirtle." I kept in touch with one set of brothers, in particular, after the fact. I babysat them a few times, took them to Chuck E. Cheese (as a guise of babysitting, but I really just wanted the pizza), and even exchanged Christmas cards with the family for a few years in college. And this was the boy I remembered his full name. Just randomly, out of the blue.
So I plugged that puppy into the Facebook search bar, and what do you know... up he popped. The first and only option. And we even had a mutual "friend" online. It took me a second to work up the nerve to actually click on his profile. Part of me was curious to figure out how old he was now, what he ended up doing with his life, and if I even recognized him from all those years ago. The bigger part of me felt like a total child molester. The curiosity part won over, since I know full well, I'm not into little kids.
Especially when I realized that he's now... get this... 24 years old.
::Banging head on desk:: I am so frickin' old!
But wait. Is that right? 24 years old? Dude... I'm only 29! Was it even humanly possible that he was only 5 years younger than me? Turns out it is possible. The age gap between 29 and 24 is barely even noticeable. There were pictures of him in a bar, with a drink, and a girlfriend. I could totally run into him someplace while out with friends. And he wouldn't even get carded. (By the way, he looks very similar from what I remember, just older.) However, the age gap between 11 1/2 and 17 is pretty major. Which is why, at the time, I never looked at it that way. He was on the cusp of not even needing a babysitter any more.

I'm 100% certain he wouldn't recognize me if I walked up in front of him at said bar. That was 12 years ago... he's doubled in age. But I remembered him. Just like I would imagine teachers of mine, old babysitters, and friends of my parents would remember me. But I wouldn't necessarily remember them. I feel like I'm in a whole other generational realm now. Now that I know those cute, innocent, kids that I have pictures of tucked away in a box, are now grown-ups. Adults with girlfriends and college degrees and kegstands. It's just hard to put into perspective that as we age, so does everyone else. A shame, really. Innocent kids are so much cuter than twentysomething drunkards.

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