When asked what age they’d like to go back to, I have found that most folks, if given the chance, would sprint right back to their high school years. This group of people would most definitely NOT include me. Why? Well, for starters you’re expected to behave like an adult without any of the freedoms or perks of adulthood. In opposing response, you behave like a child and then are labeled an immature trouble-making brat. It’s like being stuck in Limbo. None of the perks of Heaven but you can’t party in Hell either. You get to watch in confusion, trying to make the best of what you have and what you’re allowed. It’s a trap. Therapists, Psychologists, Teachers and Parents try to soften the blow by insisting that it’s your “training” to becoming an adult. “It’ll be the best years of your life” is the scholarly catchphrase. When YOU are the one in “training” this is just pure horse manure nonsense. Fast forward to many years later, as you simmer in your forever state of adulthood, you get to reevaluate what you could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done. Damned hindsight is always 20/20.
Here is MY “hindsight” list. Feel free to share yours…
1. I would have joined an extracurricular club. Most kids do. This would have allowed me time away from home and more time to bond with fellow trainees. I always went straight home after school, to sit in a 5th floor, pre-war one bedroom apartment. Fun!
2. I would’ve been nicer to the guys that showed physical interest in me. I’m guessing I was either in culture shock since I drew absolutely no attention in Junior High or my strict religious upbringing condemned my thoughts before I could even act on them. Some say this was a blessing. I say ‘Shut! Up!”
3. I would have accepted a “Hookie” party invitation. If for nothing else to have the memory of what went on in one of them. Or to know what apartment was holding all these kids during school hours. It’s still such a mystery to me. (disclaimer for those that knew me in HS and may call me out on this: yes, I did play hookie or cut class, just never had the cojones to go to one of the parties).
4. I should have gone to all the school dances. Okay, at least to some of them. But we were both poor and religious. No money for a new outfit befitting the fashion of an 80’s dance party, plus according to my mother it was the breeding ground for sin, especially the prom. I’m telling you, no Heaven or Hell for me. Just the bland grayness of Limbo.
5. I would have taken a Physics and Calculus class. Before you write me off as crazy on this one, let me help you understand my madness. It comes in the form of a husband. More precisely, my husband. Who’s a physics and mathematical genius. Seriously, having some knowledge on these subjects would be the equivalent to a romantic evening out and whispering to him across the table that I have gone commando under my slinkiest dress. “Can we PLEASE get the check?”
6. I would have spent more time in the College Bound office researching a career more catered to what I loved to do. Instead, I allowed my mother to choose what I was going to study after high school based on her religious beliefs. The outcome? I’m now 45 years old and although I proudly paid off my school loans, and make a good living, I am no where close to working in my studied field. I know that many people through the ages have experienced this outcome. In my case though it was due to a lack of initial action.
7. Refer back to # 2 for this next one. I could’ve had my first kiss in HS. As a kid! As everyone should. Instead, my first kiss came in conjunction with an I Do (note to reader: that was to my ex husband. Not to the genius mentioned in #5).
I know most lists are in neat numbers of 5’s or 10’s, but seven is what I’ve come up with. Plus I’m starting to develop some pain in my medial temporal lobe trying to recall details this long ago. I do have some good high school memories, but imagine how much more awesome my memories or stories would be if I’d taken a bigger leap, or spoken up a bit more for the things I wanted to enjoy, should have enjoyed. Adults need to listen to their teens more and teach them that it’s okay to communicate with us on THEIR level, not on ours or how we expect them to be. Remember, they are no longer babies, but they are not yet fully grown. Don’t treat them like children, and don’t rush them to be adults. Just let them be, and maybe they can live “the best years of their lives”.
— The Pretty Platform