Hump Day Crush: Ten Years, Plus Another Five

May of this year marks fifteen years since my high school graduation.

As anyone who even casually reads here knows, high school played a large role in setting the groundwork for who I am now. That all became very clear to me when the ten year mark was rolling around and I got involved in the planning of that reunion.

Well, that plan didn’t quite execute and here we are five years later, trying again.

For me, high school sucked. A lot. I was obsessed with relationships I wouldn’t ever do anything about. I secured my space as a social outcast by refusing to play by the standard rules. And I had the youthful audacity to blame my unhappiness on the world at large instead of my own choices.

If it was such a horrible time, you may ask, then why do you want to relive it?

Why? Because I firmly believe that only by facing our own shortcomings of the past–only by learning from those mistakes and remembering the lessons learned way back when–can we fully be ourselves now.

Over the last year or so, as I went back through an old hand-written journal or two from those dark high school days of the early 90s, I was reminded of many things I had let slip through the cracks of depression. There were good times back then, I just chose to remember the bad ones. Without a doubt, that gave me fuel for change, but the change it created was flawed and had trouble sticking.

Most of those skewed memories involved relationships, be they pining, one-sided, romantic ones or vibrant platonic ones. In the past decade and a half I’ve come to terms with a lot of that and become a happier person because of it.

One of the greatest joys has been reconnecting with those old crushes and seeing how their lives have turned out. Talking with them about the “not-so-good old days” is empowering. I have a chance to finally tell them what I wanted to say all those years ago.

“You know, back in high school, I had a huge crush on you.” Or, “You were one of the few bright spots in those dark days, thank you.”

It’s empowering. Perhaps more importantly, it’s allowing me to clear up a lot of fog in my own head… allowing me to see just how far I’ve come.

And I’m not the only one who’s come a long way. Just about everyone I’ve spoken with from that long ago and far away land of High School has grown into themselves. Sure, some are happier than others, and some, unfortunately, have fallen on hard times they could never have imagined fifteen years ago, but on average things are good.

They’re all still pretty recognizable, though. If not in face and body, then in attitude and presentation. Some things don’t change much, it seems.

Our core self is prepped in those formative high school years. They are the last time we share a common setting with a large group of our peers. The last time we regularly interact with the people we grew up with.

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying it was an important time for each of us.

It’s where we learned the rules and consequences of social interaction. It’s where we first loved and lost.

Where we first began to be ourselves.

So, here I am, fifteen years out and still learning from the experiences of those four years.

I think we can all learn a lot by taking some time, every now and then, and looking back.

At the absolute least, it lets us know that, if we’ve made it this far, we can probably keep going a bit more.

  • Amy

    I’ve so very recently learned how to love someone from afar. I have noticed the people that may not be close to me physically are the people I rely on the most emotionally.

    I can call on a friend, or crush and know that I have a few stolen moments in time with that person,possibly without them knowing how much I totally “crush” on them.

    Both parties can enjoy each others conversation and I can revel in the fact that in high school this never would have happened.

    Back then I wanted to blend as much as possible. I didn’t want any one to know who I liked, for fear of being noticed in return.

    If I was noticed, people might see my pain. The pain of an abusive childhood that held very little time for things like crushes and childhood friendships.

    Those friendships that I did have, I am lucky to say are the reason I am alive today.

    Those bonds I was able to form, are what made me the strong, loving, deeply devoted person I have grown to become……no matter what silly things may occur, no matter what heart ache I will have to endure.

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