Monday, August 26, 2013

Grown-up Matters

I was browsing Facebook the other night and I caught a post from a person I knew in high school. Hardly knew, really. But, knew from a few conversations and borrowing a pencil or two. I'm really not sure how all these high school people ended up my connections on there. At least 97% of them I haven't spoken to in almost 10 years (yeah, its terrible, don't remind me).
Anyway, this person looked really tired and stressed and just ...worn down. As you might expect for a small town in Oklahoma, they have a spouse, two kids, a mortgage, and the whole thing...and in the same town I went to high school in no less.
Now, this person was really cool when I was in high school. I wasn't cool. I was just sort of regular. I didn't become outgoing, or easy-going, or very confident, or any of the other qualities I'm SO thankful to have now until I was older...pretty much toward the end of college or later.
I was always envious of the cool kids because they seemed to chat along so easy and always liked the same things and always had money and time to go off and do fun stuff. I feel like I was at work, at technical school, night college classes, or (really honestly) off trying to make someone else happy. And I just had different interests. I wanted out of there so I didn't really get to experience high school in the same way most kids do.

I never shared these feelings with anyone because I was always trying to convince myself I didn't need to be cool and my less-cool friends were just as good. Which happens to be absolutely true, but unfortunately I never felt that way automatically (without my own convincing mantra looping in my head).
Which, basically made me a non-uncool kid at heart, yet not cool enough to be a cool kid. Needless to say, it was a trying period of (for lack of a better phrase) "finding myself".
I always wondered if my amazing un-cool friends knew this about me, they probably did. They must be un-cool amazing enough to give me an unloyalty pass.

When I saw how this person was doing I felt really sorry for them. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they have wonderful things in their life, amazing things actually, like parenthood, literally life-long friends, and having family close by. But to see them look so tired and, well, old...when the last time I saw them they were on the big sport team and always surrounded by the cute little popular girls and everything else. It was just a very stark comparison between what I remember and today.

I don't feel older. I don't think I look too much different, sans mentioning a few more crow's feet when I smile. It's just crazy that life can leave such a mark on one person and not much at all on another depending entirely on their life choices. I wish I could give this person some time for themselves and maybe some money so they won't have to work so hard. It makes me sort of sad. But, at the same time -- I'm really proud of myself for growing up so much that any of those old envious/retribution type feelings didn't even enter my head until hours later. When I realized how silly those feelings were in the first place. At 17 years old, cool kids and senior trips and invites to the mall and eating lunch at a certain place all seem really important.

But, none of it is. I'm so thankful now, looking back, that I stuck to my goals and I kept working towards my car, and my better job, and college. And, I'm thankful I never tried really hard to be cool. I so love being that person that's always just them and I'm afraid if I would have gone with the want in my heart and tried to be a cool kid...not only would I probably have failed, but I may not be me.

People tell you when you're young one of two major outlooks:
1. These are the best years of your life.
2. None of this stuff will matter once you're older.

I'm thankful now that I fall into category #2.

I told boyfriend this embarrassing admission the other night and, of course, he had the wonderful words of wisdom I can always count on him to deliver: "some people peak in high school, but you have you're whole life to have all the fun they only had for 4 years" (or something to that effect). He always knows just what to say :)

I guess this post had no real point except that: its always good in life to remember when you make choices, you have to live with them. Sometimes, you end up making the right ones for the person you'll be 10 years from now and sometimes you don't. Alas, for me, thank goodness - so far so good.

Me: age 18