I never feel old until I go to a high school sporting event.
As I sat with my friends watching our two local schools trade shots and fouls, I could not help but stumble down memory lane. Bus trips to ballgames, crushes on basketball players that never batted an eye back, singing songs at the top of our lungs – “faster than a cannon ball!” It flooded back in all its awkward glory.
Unfortunately, it’s an awkwardness that really hasn’t left me, despite the years and experience.
While I have grown older, I really don’t feel much different from the teenage me. I always had friends, good times, but I would classify myself as a “floated.” I felt, and still feel, fortunate that I had friends from all different cliques and even had my close friends, but somehow I missed all the things the typical high school students goes through. Missing curfew? Nope, why would I defy my parents request to be home at a certain time?! Tell Mom and Dad I’m going to do one thing, but do something else? Risk their trust?! Insanity! Underage drinking? Waited till the legal age of 21 – that’s right, I’m that kid – only I didn’t know I was “that kid.” I just went through high school, having a pretty good time, doing what I thought was right, and figuring “don’t worry, it’ll happen in college.” (FYI – It didn’t.) Not much deviation from the course – not many opportunities to do so either. Some friends were out, going on dates, being in relationships, pushing the boundaries and I was desperately hoping someone would let me wear their jersey on Friday night and understand how much I liked them. Maybe they would have a chance to see that I had more to offer than commentary on any sporting event or Star Wars/Monty Python/Nerdy issue. See…awkward…and I haven’t shaken that.
Now, for a long while, I was in a relationship. I am not writing this as someone who hasn’t been out there, but even that didn’t work out. Questioning what happened, why things broke down, has led me many times back to this version of myself – my high school self – that I don’t really think has changed much. Not in really big, life changing way, that is. .
Maybe the case really is I have changed, but I don’t see it because I’m too close, trying too hard.
High school has become tinted to me now. I have to remind myself that the good times weren’t the only times. It’s not that I have a penchant for nostalgia. ”Glory Days” doesn’t need to be blasting in the background of my personal soundtrack if you get my meaning.
Still, high school wasn’t bad – it was high school. Life has been so much more interesting since June 1999 and I am thankful for each moment/person/event. I am that awkward woman who is still searching for that fella who’ll accept that awkwardness for all it is and that’s okay….being “that girl” is okay (repeat that 5 times if you have to, it really is okay).
Being “that girl” is okay.