It’ll be seven years on May 24, 2013 since I graduated from high school. “Wow!” you say, “That’s a really long time! Do you miss it? Do you wish you could go back?”
The answer is no, not really.
I didn’t like high school. I didn’t like being the awkward, painfully shy person that I was. Yes, I had friends and yes, I was quite talkative to them, especially if I knew them well. But I wasn’t part of any clique because my friends were in different cliques with different interests. I was always on the fringes of them because I could never truly mold into any one group. I was ever there, but not truly there, like a shape shifter. I was the girl who kept to myself, who read a lot and studied in order to finish my homework on time. I was the academic one, as I’d find out later.
That’s not to say that I didn’t want to belong. I did, very, very much. I wanted to be popular, I wanted to belong. I had a crush and I wanted him to notice me. I dreamed of having a boyfriend who took me out for dinner and a movie. I longed to have my first kiss.
That never happened tho. I never got to have a boyfriend in high school and I didn’t receive my first kiss until I was 20 (okay, I was 19, but I was 3 weeks from my 20th birthday, so who’s counting) and my first “boyfriend” wasn’t exactly official enough to call him my boyfriend (none of them were, really).
So when I graduated from high school, I looked ahead to high school and never looked back. Sayonara, asta lata vista, baby.
Well, okay, I guess I’m looking back now, but seeing it now that I’m older doesn’t make me miss it. Going to college changed me. I met new people, both my age and older who lived in different places and experienced different things. We were all there together, reaching for a common goal: to get a higher education and get the hell out of the places we were coming from. We were the misfits, the studious, the outcasts. We found our niches together and grew up out of the ashes. We became better people because of it. We became stronger, smarter, more resilient. High school could never give us that.
They say that high school has some of the best years of a person’s life. I don’t believe it. Tell me, how does struggling to fit in make it the best years of your life? Oh, and that night you cried yourself to sleep because you found out the friend you confided in about that crush you wanted to go to prom with went over and asked him out to prom without you knowing about it and told the whole class about it the next day, all the while stealing gloating looks at you just to hurt your friends? Yeah, that is a really great memory that will be told to my grandchildren about the good old days.
I’m sure high school was excellent for some people. Going to all the football games, catching the best dates, getting the part in the spring musical that I always got cut from. But that wasn’t me, and nor can I expect it to be good for everyone who goes through it.
I had a chemistry teacher in high school who said that high school isn’t for everyone, that the years can only get better for them as time goes on. I never heard better words in my life. College was great, graduate school even better. Maybe for some of us, the years will always get better, the past a distant memory. There are remnants of my past, people I keep in touch with that remind me of what used to be.
But they are different. And so am I. Our memories of each other are distorted, filtered through newer eyes. Do you remember that? No…it wasn’t like that at all. I hope you found what you were looking for. Not quite, but I’m getting there and God help me if I try to go back.
And so we part and disappear back down the road of time, making ourselves even more unrecognizable. Thank God for better years.