20 Years Ago...

If we're going to be totally honest, I sort of forgot that this year marked twenty years since I graduated from high school. I vaguely remember some social media chatter last year about what would happen with the reunion with the pandemic, but I've had bigger fish to fry. Then today I saw some of my old friends posting pictures and memories and I had to jump on the nostalgia train with a few of my own. Twenty years? How am I this old? Yet, also, it feels like lifetimes ago.

I dug out my photo album and spent a few minutes reminiscing, remembering back to our big senior trip to not far from where I live now (we did Downtown Disney's now-gone ESPN Zone, Grad Night at Disneyland, stayed in a hotel for a few hours, and then hit Six Flags up for the day on the way back... thirty-seven year old me cannot imagine how tired our poor chaperones were). There was our IB Senior Banquet, graduation rehearsal, graduation itself, a small gathering with friends that night after family stuff, and then a week of get-togethers. The normal stuff, really. 

For the most part, I really enjoyed high school. Not to the point where I consider it my glory days or anything, but I was fortunate enough to get swept into a group of fellow IB students, and we stayed together all four years. I had come from a close-knit group that stayed at the same school from kindergarten to eighth grade, so having this sort of school-within-a-school idea helped make the jump between the two places easier. I had friends, I did very well academically, I respected my teachers, I was involved in extracurricular activities, I went to all the school events, had various little part time jobs (umpiring, babysitting, etc...), blablaba. I had a boyfriend most of freshman year, played the field for awhile, and then finished up senior year with a guy I dated throughout college (until I met my husband, but that's a story for another time). I stayed out of trouble, but I also had a lot of fun.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, though. My dad killed himself at the end of freshman year, and a lot happened in my immediate family consequently. I was the oldest of four, which meant that I spent A LOT of time helping my mom, especially with the two siblings who are a lot younger than I am. Money was a constant issue and I had to work hard to secure various forms of funding, on my own, to go to UCLA. My boyfriend and I senior year had a dramatic relationship (although most high school ones are), and I felt often very anxious about him leaving me, so I never pulled the plug (this continued for three more years... sigh...). The culmination of the stressors of home and my relationship led to a great deal of anxiety, which I at the time had no idea how to cope with. I lost a lot of sleep, got sick often (I had strep throat multiple times one year), and wrote in my journal lists and lists of backup plans and fears. While all of this was obviously unfortunate, everything I went through during this time really helped me learn to push myself in a lot of ways and I'm proud that I was able to handle so much, so young. Life handing you lemons and all that. 

What makes me the most amused is that my life twenty years later is nothing at all how I thought it would be. I thought I'd be a doctor... I'm an English teacher (although I can teach biology). I thought I was going to be marry the other half of my four-year-old dysfunctional relationship... I ended up with the guy I started dating soon after I broke it off with high school boyfriend boy. I thought I'd have three kids... I have one. I imagined I'd live in a big city... I live in a suburban city that I'd never even thought of back then. Life definitely doesn't end up the way we think when we're seventeen or eighteen, and that's probably for the best!

I'll finish up by saying that I feel incredibly lucky to be friends with several people from high school, though, despite how far and wide we've spread. The education I received during those four years prepared me so incredibly well for college and I'm glad that I had to figure out things for myself.  

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on reaching this milestone, and thanks for sharing! It sounds like you have a lot of good memories and a lot of memories that you grew from.