Older, Wiser, Still Growing

High school is a tumultuous time for most people.

Hormones are doing nasty things to our insides and outsides. Social pressures are forcing us to make choices that seem so much bigger than they are. Our very minds consipire to cause us problems trying to reconcile new ideas, strange interactions and the pop culture “standards” we’ve been fed our entire lives.

It can really suck.

And for me, it did.

You couldn’t pay me to go back and re-live those four years. When I graduated, I was happier to be done with that place and time than I ever was for anything else.

It would be years before I put enough distance between the person I was then and the one I had grown in to and was able to even remember half the good stuff that had gone on.

I never had a Winnie Cooper or a Watts. I was more Cunningham than Fonzereli. I most certainly wasn’t as lucky as Lloyd Dobbler.

What I was, was some strange and confused embryonic form of who I am now. A lot has changed–so much that the “me” from back then wouldn’t even be able to imagine the person I am now as a possibility.

Anyone who’s still the same person they were in high school has serious problems. It means they haven’t grown, haven’t learned anything new about themselves, and are probably stuck in very unhealthy relationship patterns–both intrapersonally and interpersonally. High school, at best, helps set the baseline for who we were and plants the seeds for who we can become.

What we do with those seeds, how far we rise from that baseline (or sink below it), is up to us. It’s what happens when we really get out on our own, when we decide which influences we’re going to accept and which we’re going to shrug off as unimportant or detrimental.

At it’s worst, high school lets us know exactly what we don’t want to be part of. It stings us so badly and disgusts us so much that we seek to turn our backs on it as useless and horrid. Even at its most horrid, though, it serves as an inspiration–a motivator to ensure we never go back to anything resembling that state of development.

High school is part of the baggage we carry with us into every relationship. For some, it’s a small tote and for others it’s a steamer trunk or three. It’s part of what either held us back or spurred us forward along the path to who we are now. It’s part of the last bit of generally shared experience for most Americans… something that we can all talk about together and be able to compare notes.

Love it or hate it, high school is part of who we are.

And it’s one of the biggest reasons I write about what I do.

  • Kier, this struck me because I also hated high school. You’re right, it is a part of us no matter what. Thank goodness we do NOT have to go back! 🙂

    • Glad it struck a chord with you.

      I know a lot of people who absolutely despised high school. Of that number, there aren’t a whole lot willing to embrace that pain and suffering. Most seem to prefer to forget it and can get quite hostile when it comes up in conversation.

      While I don’t fully understand that, I can appreciate it… and kind of admire the amount of energy they must have to support such a long-standing grudge against an entire hunk of their own lives.

      And, yes, thank goodness we don’t have to go back… I don’t think that would end well at all. 🙂

  • Kier, this struck me because I also hated high school. You’re right, it is a part of us no matter what. Thank goodness we do NOT have to go back! 🙂

    • Glad it struck a chord with you.

      I know a lot of people who absolutely despised high school. Of that number, there aren’t a whole lot willing to embrace that pain and suffering. Most seem to prefer to forget it and can get quite hostile when it comes up in conversation.

      While I don’t fully understand that, I can appreciate it… and kind of admire the amount of energy they must have to support such a long-standing grudge against an entire hunk of their own lives.

      And, yes, thank goodness we don’t have to go back… I don’t think that would end well at all. 🙂

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