I have been struggling to try and figure out exactly what it is I want to say with this topic. I am not sure if it is because I have covered similar ideas in several posts over the last few weeks. Because of my 10 year reunion, the wedding of an old friend, and my birthday all falling within a span of a week and a half, I have pretty much covered what it means to grow older and look back.
I received a number of great responses for this week’s topic, all revolving around how different everyone is since graduating from high school, however many years ago that was. Reading these responses and seeing so many old friends over the past two weeks, I have been trying to figure out exactly what it is that has changed. We all have changed in different ways, become more or less of what we are or were, but the things is, none of us are truly different people. We are all the same at our core. I think what has changed is that we are all simply a little more self-aware and a little less self-obsessed.
Whether you were the cheerleader who feared nothing more than a loss of popularity, the social butterfly who hated the idea of missing out on any fun, the mean girl who would do anything for power and control, the overachiever who was only concerned with class rank, or the hopeless romantic who was always pining for some boy. The things that made us these people are still a part of us. Now, you just know how to choose better friends and whose opinions actually matter, you know that having fun is important, but so is being able to keep your job, you know that power is fleeting and controlling people is no way to get what you want, you know that your goals in life are important, but so is having a life, you know that boys will come and boys will go and the right one will stick around (whether you like it or not).
I think that in 10 years, I will be standing around at my high school reunion talking to these same people, making the same jokes, telling the same stories, and I will be thinking back to this year and how stupid we all were now. We will be a little more self-aware, a little less self-obsessed. I think, that is what growing up really is. Maybe the reason we all fear it is because we are too selfish to want to be less self-obsessed. We are not quite ready to see who we are any more clearly than we do now. Over time, the veil will lift a little more and the fog will clear a little more and we will see ourselves for who we really are and that is, in fact, terrifying. Because, what if, at my very core, I am just a mean girl? What if all of the things that we have always wanted out of life never happen? What if we have to continue to let go of more hopes and more dreams in order to make room for real life. What if real life really does suck?