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Things I Wish I had Believed During High School

Sometime this Fall, right around the time that Baby “Florken” (or the “Blorken” as many of you have been referring to it) makes its appearance, I’ll likely get an invite to my 10 year high school reunion. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ll go. It’s not that high school was a bad time for me or that the place is filled with bad memories. Neither of those are really the truth. I enjoyed parts of high school. I had friends, hobbies, and some memories I cherish dearly. But overall, high school simply reminds me of a person I no longer am and that reminder is something I think I’d just rather do without.

So in honor of high school reunions everywhere, I thought I’d put together a list of things I wished I had believed in high school:

I know I look a little “depressed” in this high school picture, but I swear I won “Most Spirited” and “Peppiest” awards throughout high school. Contrary to photographic evidence, I was sometimes a very happy teen. 

1) I wish I had believed that different wasn’t bad: I remember spending so much time focused on why I thought differently, acted differently, and felt differently. It never crossed my mind that being different was truly a gift. Now, I see that being different led me to a life much different than those of many of my classmates. And truly, I love my life now so much that I realize that “so different”, in the long run, pays off.

2) I wish I had believed that my mom wasn’t out to get me: My mom had my best interest at heart. It is true that even looking back I feel she over reacted at time to certain things. But, in large part, I can see now that she was trying to raise me to be a woman of principle and to have values for myself I wouldn’t later regret. Thank you Mom. I didn’t make it easy on you, but you never gave up.

3) I wish I had believed in true friendship: Honestly,  forget having “best friends” because I don’t even have many “high school” friends I still communicate with regularly. In high school, I seemed to think that friendships would last forever based solely on the gossip we shared, the rules we broke, or the number of times we could roll our eyes at what adults said to us. Those things do not build lasting friendships. Now that I’m an adult, I’ve learned that friendships are built on being there when times get tough and putting another before yourself. I value my “true” friendships now so much and wish desperately I had understood that concept in high school and built more lasting relationships.

4) I wish I had believed I was worth it: In high school, I didn’t truly value myself. On occasion I would dress cheap and act in ways that didn’t tell the world that I was worth anything more than a passing glance. Even more, I would date complete and total asshats just because I didn’t believe I was worth anything better than that. I often wonder how different life would have been if I would have just put my foot down and demanded to be treated how I truly deserved. My relationship with Adam has been eye-opening in every way and I can’t imagine a future child ever settling for less than the person absolutely meant for them. Asshats beware — don’t try to date my kid. I will end you!

5) I wish I had believed that life is so much bigger than who you are in high school: I knew that there was life beyond high school and I did look forward to it. I often dreamed about college and careers. Still, I was always so wrapped up in trying to be liked and being seen as a “cool” kid. It never truly hit me that 10 years later, “who” I was or wasn’t in high school would be far, far from my thoughts and cares. While I believe those four years are important, I don’t believe for a second that they truly define anyone. We each are collectively stitched together from the whole of our experiences and I wish I had known how many more things would happen to create the pattern that is me.

Alright, there’s my list. Tell me — what do you wish you would have believed during your high school experience?

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