One of the primary things adults always told me growing up was that high school was bound to be the best four years of my life, without a doubt. "Hold onto those days," my dad would tell me, "You're going to miss them."
So, I walked into high school, sweating with fear because I really believed that I had to make every single day count, otherwise I wasn't doing it right. As freshman go, I was pretty obnoxious in trying to have a good time, and (how stereotypical of me) doing my damn best (and failing) to fit in and be popular. Every day had to matter.
Now, I'm a junior in high school, staring face to face with the ACT, SAT, and weighing heavy options of my future. Sure, I'm having a good time with friends, relationships, after-school commitments, etc, etc. But, I'm halfway through this high school thing, and if I'm honest, this doesn't feel like the best days of my life.
Here's what I know: high school isn't great.
It's awkward, petty... and kind of boring. For some reason, when someone hypes up these 4 years, we imagine non-stop action, like in the TV shows: a drama filled life that wraps you up in who's dating who, and which friends just got dropped, something straight of Pretty Little Liars (without all the death). But, most of your time is spent in class (or not, if you like to ditch) or doing fairly routine things with your friends.
And when it comes down to actual drama, the smallest things turn out to be the most impactful. We're still growing up, so when someone steps all over your heart, or someone talks bad about you, it feels like the walls are closing in. It feels like everyone in the school knows who you are, and they too, are there to tear you down. The world ends when you say it does, which strangely, happens a lot.
And like I said, we're all still figuring it out, so sometimes, the confusion of making sense of your life can be overwhelming. Sometimes, you're friends with people who you don't actually like; you're only friends because for some reason or another, you have to be. Sometimes, you take classes that you later realize you were NOT prepared for. And in general, sometimes you worry you're doing it all wrong.
All of that, all of that combined isn't appealing, to me, at least. To me, all of that "figuring it out" is what we have to do to actually get to the best years of our lives.
It's a trial run of the real world, where we come in as kids and leave as adults. And, not to sound like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, but, I can't help feeling like there's something more.
We are all going to leave, if not to college, then onto the next phase of our lives. The hope is that we find love, and success, and passion for whatever it is we end up doing. When we leave, we are going to have to start chasing life and leave behind people we don't care about, the classes we failed, the football games we went to, all the dances, and only keep a few memories.
High school shouldn't be the best years of your life, because that's what's prepping you for them.
The only "truths," I guess, that I've learned in high school so far are that no one cares and it doesn't ALL have to be exciting. If someone doesn't know who you are and what you do, why should that matter? If you don't go to homecoming and instead spend the night on the phone with a friend, you really aren't missing much and are probably having a better time than you would anyway. Parties come and go, so if you miss one, that's fine, there's plenty of time to make that up. And if one of the more popular kids doesn't know who you are, who cares?
It's less about having the time of your life, and more about learning what it means to be a verifiable human being.
This isn't to bash anyone who believes high school to be the best years they've ever had. It's your life, and if that's what's true for you, I'm glad you had that good of a time. But for everyone who was living or is currently living in something average and relatively regular, don't worry. You're not alone.
Here's to what's ahead.