Friday, June 20, 2014

On 20 years and looking back with wonder...

I wasn't voted "most likely to succeed" in high school.
I wasn't voted "best dressed," "most talented," or half of the "cutest couple."
In fact, I wasn't any of the Senior Superlatives.

Back then?  That mattered to me.
Now? I really couldn't care much less. 

Today is 20 years and 10 days since I graduated from high school.

A lot happens to a person in 20 years.

As much as I always thought I'd never go back - never miss that place; I did and I do.

In many ways, I don't care to even think about high school.  Mostly because of the mistakes I made and dumb things I did.  Some of the hair styles and clothing choices were  embarrassing, really.  Most of my high school friends I lost touch with.  I might be friends with them on Facebook, but my view of Social Media is that it makes us more antisocial than social these days.

Recently, I rewatched the entire series of The Wonder Years on Netflix. {By the way, TONS of now famous people had small roles on that show.  It was so fun spotting them as I was watching.}
I loved that show back then and remember crying when it went off the air.  But I have to say, in addition to doing a series finale the RIGHT way, that show was just in general done well.  It taught a lesson.  The use of the narrator who now has hind-sight was so beneficial. And now, as an adult, the show was so much better for me.  I could identify with the characters as young adults, but also with the narrator whose perspective was so much different looking back on his earlier escapades.

Eric Dane as Captain of the Football team...

Jim Caviezel as a Basketball star...

Seth Green playing what he plays best - a punk...

In the finale, grown-up Kevin, as narrator, says this:

"Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul."

And they do.  As much as I'd like to forget some of the dumb things I said and did in high school; the relationships that never should've happened and the ones I wish I'd kept alive through the years, my memories of that time have stuck with me.

My 20 year reunion is scheduled for this October.  Part of me is scared silly and part of me is so excited to see some of those people again.
I'm scared because I know some people will think I've changed and also because I know some of them will NOT have changed.
I'm excited to rekindle some of the friendships that I haven't kept up with.

And in 4 months when the reunion night rolls around, I hope I feel the way I do now:
proud of who I've become and way less concerned with what others think of me than I ever was in High School.

I have changed. And that's ok.
Thank God I've changed, actually. 

Back then, I thought I had nothing in common with "those people."
I wanted nothing more than to leave that small town & never LOOK back, much less COME back.
They were small and small-minded, or, so I thought.
But the older I get, the funny thing is, I have more & more in common with that small town & those "small-minded" people. Some might say I've gone backwards.
Instead of getting more "big-city" and "large-minded" I've come to know the value of that small town & those conservative people.
Heck, I might even be MORE conservative than some of them now.
And you know what? I'm ok with that.
Those people & that town, helped shape me into the person I am now. Just as college, marriage, motherhood & other life experiences have helped shape me. 

And looking back, it was never that I didn't have anything in common with that place & those people. It was just that I didn't know it yet.

So let them say I've changed.

I don't look the same.
I don't act the same.
I don't talk the same. 

Inside, part of me is the same girl I was at 18: ambitious, full of potential, ready to take on the world.
It's just that now, I've worked out most of the kinks of WHO I am. Now I'm free to concentrate on what I'm going to do next, how I'm going to do it, and who I'm going to do it with.

I wasn't voted "most likely to succeed."  

But really, what did any of us know about success at 18? 

20 years and counting! 
Looking back on those years and remembering with wonder...