This June marks forty years since my high school graduation. In all honesty had a few of my classmates not decided to arrange a forty year class reunion I probably would not have given it another thought.
Let’s face it, what with all the hormonal changes going on in a teenagers body, and the fact that teens are becoming more self-aware, high school has to rank high in the “most challenging times” of a person’s life. Even for the popular, over-achieving set.
I know for me it most certainly was.
As a transfer from a small, private Catholic school the transition to public school in ninth grade was not very easy. I was quite comfortable with my tight-knit small group, but once I got into the large machine that was public school all my insecurities resurfaced.
Being new we all stood out, which is most definitely something you don’t want when dealing with a lack of self-confidence and being self-conscious of everything about yourself.
I felt like a square peck in a round hole. If not for my Catholic school buddies and a few new friends I made, I’m not sure I would have made it through not just ninth grade, but all of high school.
As my confidence grew and I got more involved in clubs and got to know more people each year got a little better. Not that there weren’t those who still triggered my insecurities. The key was to avoid them to the best of my abilities.
By the time graduation day arrived I was completely indoctrinated into public school. BUT, that didn’t mean I wasn’t thrilled to be done with all of it and moving on to a new adventure in college.
It was at this point, all of our lives went in different paths, and the clearing of the old began. We just didn’t realize it.
Over forty years life levels the playing field.
In that time a lot of life can be lived – college, careers, career changes, job loss, – marriage, kids, divorce – putting kids through college, kids getting married, grandchildren – caring for parents, loss of parents or other loved ones – retirement dreaming, or even retired already, if you’re lucky.
We are not who we were, we are who we are, forty years post graduation.
Life most certainly helps to mold and shape an individual and by the time you’re in your fifties what happened in your teen’s pales in comparison to the real world.
In other words, you’ve “GROWN UP.”
I know for myself becoming a Mom, and loosing my Son’s father three years later more than impacted who I am today.
The insecure, self-conscious teenager doesn’t exist any more.
Not that I don’t have days when I’m feeling less than stellar and experience self-doubt, but I don’t have time to linger on that, the demands of the real world see to that.
Especially during my Son’s child rearing years. His needs preceded any feelings of inadequacy I may have experienced.
So, with all this in mind I was more than excited to see old classmates. I knew for me it would be the perfect time to clear out the old, sometimes negative energy surrounding high school memories and usher in new, positive energy for the future.
As I walked into the reunion, it was evident that we were all in this same place. The air was filled with positive energy and a spirit of grand camaraderie. It was non-stop chatter and bouncing around trying to talk with everyone that was there.
Over the following week I pondered the nights events. We may have been brought together initially in high school, but now we were all united by our own journeys since high school.
It made me realize how important it is to look back in order to move forward. If we don’t own the good and the bad that we’ve experienced in our lives sojourn, we can never be whole.
BUT, once you’ve done so, let go of the negative, so there’s more room for the positive to grow.
So as I work my way through my present stage of re-discovery, I can honestly say I crossed a major threshold by facing the challenges of my high school days without flinching. Not sure I could have done that twenty or twenty-five years ago.
In addition, I’m grateful for those experiences. Without them I would not be who I am today.
AND, I’m grateful for all those classmates who had my back. You know who you are. Much love now and always!
Having the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and actually make new friends of classmates I didn’t really know that well is a beautiful thing.
Or as the commercial says “Priceless.”
© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Woman, 2019. All rights reserved.
Goddess Masthead © Pamela Danko-Stout and Waking the Woman, 2019. All rights reserved.