Thursday, September 25, 2014

High School And Second Chances

Reagan and me, on my 37th birthday. This kid, he's pretty great.
I wasn't a different person in High School, exactly. In some ways I was very similar. I was passionate, political, and I cared deeply about people.

But I was young.

Being both inexperienced and short-sighted, I often couldn't see what was right in front of me. And I definitely couldn't see what the best choices were.

I rejected my High School culture because I felt like I went to school with people who were privileged, entitled, and judgmental. Which, sometimes they were. But, hello, so was I. Clearly.

I missed out on so many things that High School kids do, because I thought I was so much better than all of it. I had things to do and a life to lead. I was so much more mature.

Really, I was kind of an idiot. Thankfully, I grew up. We all grew up.

Of course, in addition to turning from a dumb kid in to a grown-up in the last twenty years, this other amazing thing happened. The kids these days call it Facebook.

Through Facebook I have connected and reconnected with so many people I went to school with, not all of whom were my friends back then.

Now we have so much more in common, like kids and mortgages, and a strong desire for wine before 5 o'clock. We can hang.

And it turns out, a lot of them are great people. Who knew?

I didn't appreciate the people I went to school with, or the privileges that were offered to me, then. But now I do. Now I can appreciate how we were all caught in our limited experiences, and trying to grow into ourselves.

Weirdly, time circles around in a never-ending loop, and now my own child is a Senior in High School, twenty years after I was.

Much like me, he's not terribly interested in a lot of school activities. And I wonder if he will look back at High School and wish he'd done a few things differently, like I do. But I've let him make his own choices in this area, and he has picked close relationships with his core group of friends, over traditional High School things like dances and football games. Which I respect, both because I really like his core group of friends, and because this is his life, and not my second chance.

I don't get a second chance at adolescence. But, thankfully, I do get a second chance to get to know the people who come from where I come from. And with a little less insecurity and baggage attached.

My 20th reunion isn't until next Summer, and it falls on Reagan's 18th birthday. When I talked to him about it, he told me I should go. Not because he doesn't want me around for his birthday, but because he thinks I spend too much time taking care of them, and that I should get more "me" time.

I think I've done something right with that one.

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