When the seeds first sprouted

I tend to make a big deal out of my time in high school.

How I make a big deal out of it has slid into different territory over the years.

As I’ve gotten further away from it, the distance has allowed me to appreciate it more. Continued “personal archaeological expeditions” into that long-ago past have lead me to revise skewed bits of memory and revisit lessons I didn’t quite read correctly back then.

Mostly, I keep going on about it because it gave me some good stories that serve as the foundation of who I’ve grown into.

As we grow from kid to tween to teen and beyond, different seeds are constantly planted. It isn’t until that first decade or so of life is over, though, that we really begin to take an active role in how they grow. It isn’t until our teen years that the big-deal seeds (planted by our families from the day we were born onward) sprout enough for us to actually notice.

Heck, it isn’t until high school that we actually know enough to even accidentally sensibly prune what’s growing.

When I started high school, I had more or less just finished up the most destructive two and a half year crush I’ve ever had. I was at or near the bottom of the social pecking order. I really didn’t have much to lose at all.

Yeah, I was depressed a lot. So much so that, looking back, I probably would have benefited from… something. Medication. Therapy. I don’t know. But I’m often amazed I survived. But it was pushing through those rough times (even if they were mostly in my head) that made me realize not just who I was, but who I could be.

Most of the time, if felt detached from the rest of my peers. I didn’t think we had a lot in common. I know that to be an incorrect perception now. At least when it comes to some of them. They were all going through crazy stuff–be it family related or internal conflicts similar to my own.

We were all lost and confused (as teenagers always are), and all around us those seeds planted earlier in our lives were sprouting, tangling us in emotional vines and obscuring our vision with contradicting conglomerations of trees and bushes.

In high school, we begin to prune back bits here and there–at first out of necessity, then, as we gain more skill, knowledge and understanding, with determination. By the end of those four years, many of us had cultivated a nice little garden of sorts.

Mine was full of spooky trees, topiaries that moved on their own and man-eating Venus fly traps, but, hey, to each his own, right? Those are the kinds of things I embraced. A little dark, a little twisted, but beautiful in their own way.

The important thing was, all those sprouted seeds had roots that dug deep into the ground. It was that base–that network of experiences and values–that kept everything from washing away when life’s little deluges would hit.

They kept the ground beneath my feet and let everything I later chose to plant grow strong.

Get Adobe Flash player