Hey, y’all! Hi! It’s that time of year–no, not Christmas. Not yet. We have approximately 3 months until we are bombarded with plastic santas…in August. 😉 It’s graduation time, which means that bright eyed teenagers are looking at their futures expectantly and quite certainly (or maybe uncertainly, which is far more realistic an outlook) because ACG and I have realized over the past few weeks–nothing goes as you expect in life ever, but it especially doesn’t go as you expected it would at eighteen.
In light of ACG’s not-so-little brother graduating and one of our other younger friends, we’ve been very reminiscent on our high school graduation experience. That is intensified when you realize ACG is starting her last year of college*; our friend K will be graduating in December*; and I am finally settling into the right degree* and returning to a four-year university rather than a two-year college or technical program. (*Barring changes in plan.)
We have been, and it led us to tonight’s topic: The things we thought would happen at 18 and the things we never thought to imagine would happen.
- I never thought that I would be okay with leaving high school behind, especially the comfort of seeing my friends every day and living basically just down the road from them. I really struggled with it, but three years later I can’t imagine going back. So much has happened that never could have in high school.
- Three years ago, I wanted to start over. I didn’t want to be who I always had been–who I still am. But now, I’m grateful I didn’t ditch my wonderful friends like ACG or this blog. I’m so glad to have grown and changed but to have also kept some pretty amazing things I thought I had to get rid of in order to be happy. You don’t have to start all over to become some new or better. You just have to work on what you have. You just have to make yourself your own.
- I thought I was going to be halfway to adult by now. By that I mean that I was going to take the chances to make changes to my personality (with no effort and overnight, mind you) that would have me suddenly involved in at least an extracurricular and making friends that I met up with for lunch in every class and dating some guy about two years older than I am. That didn’t happen, though. In some ways, that’s a good thing; I needed a chance to grow and accept the fact that I was growing up and it was okay. But I also didn’t make myself branch out quite as much as I could have sometimes, and I wish I had. There’s still time to work on that in myself, though, and I am slowly trying to make myself.
- I, too, assumed I would be dating someone. And be a magical adult. To both those things I must say–spoiler alert to the youngsters–TRUE ADULTHOOD IS NOT REALLY ACHIEVABLE. There is only slowly adding in slightly more adult activities and making slightly more rational decisions. That aside. I did have the opportunity to date someone for about a year and a half before this graduation season and period of reflection. What I have learned is that: you can and will have new and different relationships than you had in high school. They will change you just like your high school relationships. And as much as you think you’re both adults so it’s real, they may not last–just like relationships in high school. Another note on high school relationships vs. college: anyone you had feelings for or an awkward relationship with in high school will not matter nearly as much in three years. It’s wild. The people you have in your life right now may not be the people who will always be there, and anyone in your life will always leave you with something–whether that be good memories and fondness or only strength from what you endured. On a positive note: it IS possible to keep friendships very strong–even when two of a three person friend group have lived away at different times.
- I never imagined that I would be able to sit down and actually reflect like this. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to slow down and think about what happened in a situation, how I really felt, and what things actually meant. I was naive about a lot, innocently good-intentioned, not realizing how something that I said or did with nothing but kind purposes could have hurt someone. I didn’t like to stop and analyze things–or make a plan. I was thoughtless, kind of careless at times, and would have never thought that I would be willing to be the one to slow down and try to guide anyone through any emotional spot. I never imagined I would be able to put together a sentence full of any real feelings or wisdom that was my own.
- Don’t settle. I don’t mean go get Starbucks over making a cup of coffee at home. I mean, don’t tell yourself you’re not worth the investment in education or that you’re not special or smart enough for what you want to be; don’t tell yourself that what makes you happy doesn’t matter; don’t feel like you have to reduce your needs to be loved, to fit into someone else’s life. You have to take care of that for yourself. Make what you need known. Make what you want known. Know the difference between the two but stand up for both of them. You deserve the life you want. You need to love yourself enough to go after it. You are ultimately the only person on earth who can look out for your best interest 100% of the time, so do it.
Things didn’t go at all like either of us thought they would in the past three years, but looking at this list I think I can say that we’re right where we need to be because of it. I am so grateful that AJA didn’t ditch me or the blog ;), and I cannot agree with #6 more!
Drive safely, y’all. I mean, I know your bright futures in your eyes, but… that’s what sunglasses are for! 😉 ❤
Keep your diplomas open and your feelings buried. ;P ❤ 😉 😀 🙂 O.o