I just can’t stop thinking about the trip I took last weekend to Nashville with my best high school friends. I mean, most of us haven’t seen each other in 20+ years, at best we keep in touch over Facebook a couple of times a year with not much more than an image of a thumbs up of some random picture we’ve posted, and between the 7 of us, we have over 20 kids.
Needless to say, life as most of us knew it back at Roy C. Ketcham High School, where we graduated in 1994, has changed.
I often tell people that I’d love to go back to high school as the person I am now. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was a teenager I spent a lot of time trying to impress people by being someone I wasn’t.
I drew a mole over the corner of my top lip like Cindy Crawford and tried to claim that it had “always been there”.
I went through a string of really not great guys that were cool and popular, but treated me like trash and made feel terrible about myself.
I took advantage of my parents who did nothing but show up for every one of my games and kept believing in me even though I threw parties in their house behind their backs, got caught being the note “forger” at school, and cared 100% about hanging out with my friends and 0% about my education and future.
My style was entirely dictated by what other people were wearing and what was cool and not by what I felt comfortable in, both physically and mentally.
I even told everyone I wanted to be a lawyer just because that’s what Jana wanted to be, despite the fact that I loved learning about health, nutrition, fitness, and exercise physiology…and, music, art, design, writing, and dance. Literally, everything except all things having to do with law and politics. To this day, if politics comes up in a conversation, I walk out of the room as quickly as possible. And, I don’t come back.
One of my favorite things about spending the weekend with these girls last weekend was it confirmed what I have dreamt: that if I could just go back to high school being the Heather that I am now, I would’ve been way more fun to be around than I was back then. Not because I think I’m so fun now, but instead because there is something to be said for people that can laugh at themselves and, almost, find comfort in their own insecurities knowing and understanding that we’re all walking around dealing with the same stuff.
No one is exempt from the aging process; some of us are just interested in “managing it” more than others.
Everyone has issues with their kids, their spouses, their parents, their siblings, their friends, and their in-laws.
People have money issues, problems at work, and are starting to get nervous about “the future”.
We are ALL starting to lose friends and family to cancer and other terminal illnesses. And, we’re all beginning to understand how susceptible we, ourselves, are to these same conditions.
What it really all just comes down to is this: if you can get to a place in your life where you’re able to be more vocal about all of your “flaws” instead of trying to cover up all of your issues by pretending that you’ve got it all figured out…then, you start opening up doors that allow people to really connect with you for who you genuinely are and not who you think people expect you should be.
And, I think we could all just save a whole lotta’ energy if we just pulled the curtains open and became a little transparent…and, a lot less filtered.
I have a secret belief that the more “perfect” someone acts and carries themselves, the more I question their stability. And, the more genuinely honest someone is with the world around them, the more “perfect” they actually are.
That’s why I think I had such a great time with these girls last weekend. I think we were all the same girls we were back then, but even better.
Because I think we were more of the real “us”.