Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's My Birthday, I'll Party the Way I Want To

I still haven't touched that pile of grading...and I certainly won't today, because no matter how old you get, you still want to do something fun on your birthday.

I'll save it for New Year's Eve.

While I was home this past week, my dad was talking about the daughters of one of his closest friends. This particular girl is dealing with something that a lot of teenagers deal with, and I know I did as well....popularity - or in my case, the lack thereof.

High school can be a great time. It can be a place where you find yourself, the place where you develop from being the person reflecting your parents belief system to the person who has their own belief system, however roughly thought out it may be. It can be a place where you find out you have a talent for music, or art, or sports. It can be a place of safety from a stormy home life or a place of escape from parents who don't understand anything about how hard being a teenager really is.

But high school is only like that for some people. Some people have glorious high school lives, replete with friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, parties, football games, homecomings, dances, great classes, awesome teachers, cool parents, and perfect hair/skin/teeth/clothes/nails. The rest of us struggle to find a place to fit. As a teacher, I realize just how many kids truly don't FEEL like they fit in, despite the appearance they present to other kids.

When you are in high school, people tell you that this is the best time of your life - no bills, no job, no responsibilities to speak of.
When you are in high school, life is a daily battlefield with countless mines strewn in your path.

Whatever your perspective, whether you love or dread school, you can't imagine life after high school. In my case, I had gone to school with the same kids from the time I began 3rd grade. I didn't believe that I would ever outgrow my high school friends. Life sort of stretched out in front of me, vague and hazy, but following a prescribed pattern - graduation, college, good-paying job, marriage, babies, etc.

Then, you leave high school.

Life begins to take some unexpected turns. Some of those turns are welcome (hello my own apartment!!) and some not-so-much (paying for unexpected surgeries) and then one day, you realize that you live in a new city, you have new friends, and you don't have so much in common with those people you grew up with. You've changed, they've changed, and while home and high school reunions are nice places to go back to occasionally, you don't want to stay there for long.

So to those kids who hate high school, and those who think this is the best time of your life, I say wait. Just wait.

4 comments:

Lisa E said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Melissa B. said...

From time to time I try to talk to my cherubs about high school and how it is decidedly not a metaphor for life. Some get it; some, alas, do not. Ah, well. Hope you had the best of birthdays. Rest & Relaxation top my New Year's Resolutions this year. Here's to 2010!

chrissy said...

Awesomely worded post. I agree wholeheartedly.

You have inspired me - I want to write more posts on my blog like this post on yours during this new year. I always think that people don't want to read about my thoughts, but in fact, I want to read others, so there has to be a few others out there like me, hopefully.

Thank you for sharing.

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