Saturday, May 30, 2009

A walk down memory lane

Yesterday was my brother’s graduation. Like any graduation there was parking issues, long speeches that only a parent could love, and the butchering of every single student's name. But despite the routine nature of this graduation (and every other graduation on the face of the planet) it made me think of the past and of my own graduation.

Or perhaps I should say high school itself. Because graduation is just the last event in high school. It was a busy day and I only spent time with a handful of my classmates. After graduation we were too excited about being FREE we really didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to one another. It was just the end and I don’t know how many of us actually realized that.

So no, this graduation made me think back to high school and how much my life has changed since then. I am not going to say something cheesy like those were the best 4 years of my life but I think it would be honest to say those were the least stressful years in many ways. In any event, those four years were full of times that were necessary for me to become the person I am right now so for the most part I am grateful for them.

When most teenagers talk to me they tend to focus on how unfair life is, the amount of homework they have, and how generally their teachers suck at life. I am sure I thought the very same thing while I was in high school (but I still think we were all right about our senior projects SUCKING so much) so it is hard to fault them for things I thought too. That and most teenagers think things are beyond unfair in their life and asking them to do ANYTHING would mean the end of the world.

Now that I have been through college and have worked out there in the big bad world..I realize that most of my teachers were pretty reasonable and the homework wasn’t that much. There are exceptions of course, what with the senior project of doom and my entire physics class but other than that I think our teachers were really good about the amount of homework or even a little too easy on us.

High school teachers actually CARE if you do well. Again I am sure there are some lame teachers out there who have given up on caring but for the most part high school teachers do everything in their power to help you succeed. They give you extensions and extra credit so you can have a chance of passing a class. They stay after school to give you a little extra help if you need it. Once you get to college you realize that you are the only one who cares if you pass or fail. College teachers do their lesson and most of the time that is it. Bosses at work don’t care if you are having issues and are late to work. Gone are the days you get constant reminders and planner checks. It is all up to you to motivate yourself because no one else has time to worry about you!

Another thing a lot of high schoolers take for granted is the crazy amount of free time they have/had. And I know there will be someone who thinks Hey I had to work 2 jobs and cook for my 4 brothers and sisters while taking all AP classes. Well…your life sucked then. I am talking about the average teenager’s life. The one full of going to the mall and the movies all the time and generally just wasting time. Not that adults don’t waste time once they get out there in the free world…it is just easier to see hey things cost money and instead of going to the mall I have to do 2 loads of laundry, the dishes, take the cars to the shop, and mow the lawn.

I think the thing I miss the most about high school are all the friends I had. I think I took for granted that I saw the same people day after day. I knew who to sit with at lunch, I knew who to go to for homework help, and who to call whenever there was DRAMA in my life. And most of those people I have not seen in 8 years now, the day we all graduated. Some of those people I haven’t thought of in forever. Only when I tried to remember where everyone was sitting at our graduation I went OH yeah, so and so…I wonder what they are up to now.

Of course that makes me wonder if they were really friends to begin with or we were “friends” because we were around each other. Either way it is no one’s fault. People can feel closeness due to circumstances and naturally when those circumstances change the feelings do. So yes, I had some fun times with these people but it’s not the end of the world that I no longer talk to them. Sometimes I wonder if I had tried to keep in touch maybe things would be different and maybe they would precious to me. See, now I am having mixed feelings about the situation…but it’s not going to change the fact that most people don’t talk to like 90 percent of their classmates after graduation.

Since high school I have only stayed connected to very close friends in high school. Well that and I married my high school boyfriend. And even though my best friends and I are still close we don‘t spend as much time as we did in high school. During high school we would go to the movies at least once a week, someone would come over for dinner, and we would get involved in some major adventure that was probably a bad idea at the time but really funny now. But now we have jobs, relationships, and other grown-up stuff going on. It is hard to find the time to spend ungodly amount of time with each other. And while that makes me sad I understand that it was inevitable.

Watching this high school kid’s graduate made me think of some crazy things I miss. Like the GOOD nuggets and rolls they served (not the nasty beef nuggets from hell). I miss hanging out in gym…not doing gym stuff. I miss the silly songs we sung in geometry class. I miss the random stories that my friends and I wrote during study hour. And I miss our economic teacher who was beyond lenient with us (the man let us do our pretend business based on Dragon Ball Z capsule cars!).

But then I looked at those happy kids graduating and I thought thank GOD I am not them. Because…times have changed since high school and some things have changed for the better.

Being in high school meant living in my parent’s house and sharing a bathroom with two extremely messy brothers. Oh God, just thinking back to those times make my skin crawl. Besides the disgusting boy stuff they would just barge in my room without knocking! I had to share the phone and the computer with 4 other people. I was limited to eating whatever was in the house and my activities were monitored by the parents.

Not that any of that is outrageous and MOG unfair (except the nasty bathroom). You need structure as a kid to not go crazy later in life and when you are an adult/parent you get to make the rules. So now I am sitting here eating cupcakes for lunch and surfing the net on my own computer. I don’t have to fight for the shower and my bathroom isn’t disgusting, just cluttered with all my random shower gels and hair products. But I understand that I have to pay for those privileges in life and that cupcakes, privacy, and shower gel cost money.

High school was also full of drama. And when I think back about this drama…it is pretty stupid. Just now on my soap opera this girl told her mother it was life or death to get the perfect dress for prom. Yes…prom. And of course there was other drama too. People gossiping about random people breaking up and how MOG we thought they were going to be together forever nonsense. How anytime an adult asked us to do something it was because they hated us and just didn’t understand how TOUGH our life was. I got in some petty fights in high school and I am glad those times are behind us. Now we can have petty fights with our co-workers and gossip behind the slutty soccer mom’s back. XD

Another thing about high school that I don’t miss is the chronic poorness. I didn’t have a job in high school as I was supposed to focus on my studies. I did receive an allowance (laughable in size but I know I was owed anything anyway) and I was paid sometimes for helping my mom with her business. But after birthdays and Christmas most of that money was gone. So while we went to the mall all the times, most of our cash went to a movie ticket and small trinkets at the cheap jewelry place. Of course being an adult also means most of our money goes towards bills and being alive, it is nice having some spending money and owning my own stuff. Sometimes I still suffer from chronic poorness, but I do so in my own house, with my own laptop, and my own car. That and it makes having spending money feel better for some reason. I am sure this all makes sense in my head, how being a poor teenager is different than a poor adult. XD

Although being an adult gives you more freedom there are still things you have to do. Yes you don’t have to listen to your parents and be dragged to every family dinner. But once you become an adult you realize that sometimes you have to tell your parents what they want to hear and drag yourself to family functions even if you have other plans. Or in theory that should happen. After you leave that selfish teenage time you realize that your small world is not the most important thing out there, that sometimes you have to do things for other people and you must behave appropriately as your actions affect others.

Some things that happened during my high school life still affect my life now. My very first manga was given to me in high school (Sailor Moon FOR THE WIN!) and I attended my very first anime convention my senior year. I promise though I wasn’t a screaming HUG ME freak. While at graduation I noticed that there was a tassel for the anime club. Really, an ANIME club at school? An anime club that was worthy enough of getting special recognition at graduation?! Well..back in my day we didn’t have the internet to download new episodes within a day of their release in Japan! We didn’t have manga scan sites and forums shipping different characters. We had to walk 15 miles in the snow to Suncoast and buy a VHS tape for 25 dollars for three lousy episodes. Yeah, I said VHS. DVD players were way too expensive back in my day. Just be thankful for those of us who paved the way for your anime club!

Another aspect of my high school life that still affects my present life of course is my high school boyfriend. Well really my only boyfriend actually. I often tease high school students when they talk about their boyfriends/girlfriends and their lame one month anniversary crap. But really relationships have to start somewhere. So maybe my mom was rolling her eyes at our lame one month anniversary, 6 month anniversary silliness but it wasn’t silliness to us. For some people it is silliness and for other people they do find their true love in high school. I was just fortunate enough to find my partner early in life.

So yes kids, this is the first day of the rest of your life. And while it may be exciting, it is also going to be different and difficult. College isn’t going to be the huge party you see in the movies and if it is…you are doing it wrong and you are wasting a LOT of money. Making new friends will be difficult and one has to master time management pretty quickly once college exams plus work start piling up. No one will care if you are a unique person who has special little issues. Sometimes you have to suck it up when you are an adult and just do your job/go to class/whatever.

Congratulations class of 2009. I hope you all put the last 4 years to good use and I hope the transition into adulthood is as smooth as possible for you. When things get hard don’t whine and complain about how unfair life is. If you want things to change in your life you are the one who has to make it happen. And remember, make it a great day or not, the choice is yours.

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