Sunday, August 19, 2012

I never want to go back to high school

I believe I am about 16 in this picture. With a cousin and my sister.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

This would be the best possible way to describe the past few days. Not to mention many of my life's dreams.

And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The plan Thursday had been simple enough. Phone interview, drive to DC, check into hotel, relax, get work done, meet up with friend, have some fun.

Instead what happened involved waiting for calls from the vet regarding my sick dog, traffic jams, and through an odd series of events, sneaking around my old high school. And a few dozen other things. But let's talk about high school.

I went to two high schools. One I loved, the other I did not. I very unexpectedly found myself at the school I did not love on a day where my heart was with my old classmates from the school I did love.

Let me explain. Due to a crazy traffic backup, and trying to meet a friend who was also in the backup, we bailed off the road, met at my high school, and because I have the world's smallest bladder and I had been in a car nearly 5 hours, we snuck into my unhappy high school to find a bathroom. And then we proceeded to take a very strange walk around memory lane.

I struggled to remember where classrooms were, couldn't remember where my locker was located, and I swear to you, I have no memory whatsoever of the library or the auditorium. (Not remembering the auditorium is really disturbing to me, because I was in choir and drama and had to have performed in there a few times. But no, nothing, no memory of that place at all.)

What did come rushing back were the memories of people and experiences. None of them were really very pleasant memories. I remember where I was standing when a "friend" of mine said something really rude about another "friend." The only thing I remembered about an entire hallway was another rude thing a friend said to me about me.

People stood out to me. But how to get from the gym to the cafeteria- no clue.

Today at church the lesson for the young women was on dating. There was a real emphasis on not making stupid choices on boys while so young. I didn't speak up then. My mind was spinning over what I thought was important in high school (including boys) and what is important to me now.

In high school boys, music, and clothes were important. I made choir and all chances to be involved in music a very high priority. I still love singing and being involved in musical performances. I don't regret my emphasis on that back then. But I do regret how much time I wasted trying to fit in with the other girls by trying to dress like them, listen to the right bands, and like the right boys. Those interests definitely got me nowhere.

When I was 16 or 18, I expected my future to be many different things. I loved politics, law, and well, boys. I equally expected to go off to college, do lots of political internships, get married, and still go to law school while raising lots of babies. And somewhere in all of that, I planned to write books, and maybe movies.

Some of that happened, most of it didn't. I did the internships and still love politics.

I wonder how different life would be if 16 year old me had listened to the grown ups a little bit more about what was important and what wasn't important?

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