We all do it. Talk about it. Think about it. Remember it.
Those middle school and high school days we lived and breathed.
Those days we dreaded. Those years we love-hated.
Predominately good or bad, middle school and high school were times in our lives that we survived or thrived.
Some people peaked during their adolescents.
They were the people who had it all together. The ones who were good looking with brains to boot.
Some people were practically invisible during their adolescents.
They were the people who faded into backgrounds. The ones who were shy and smart to boot.
Then there were middle of the road-ers. Just like the middle class, these people were there. They had friends and moments of popularity. They were friends with everyone; the good looking and shy.
Some kids we knew were going on to bigger and better things. While some kids we knew were going on to a life of low-expectations and limited self-esteem.
Well, here we are. Out of those dreaded or delightful years. For those who peaked, you miss those times; the popularity. For those who survived, you kissed those times goodbye; the loneliness and loser-ness. For those who rode the center line, you liked those times; the joys and jerks.
Whatever lens you wear when you think back on your teenage dreams, we all know that who we are now is not who we were then.
And I wonder, who would I be now?
If I was in ninth grade, what would I be like? If the me I am now was thrown back into the world of gossiping and giggling, boys and braces, how would I act? Would my experiences (8 years since high school graduation) make me a different middle schooler or high schooler?
I’d like to think it would.
As a middle schooler and high schooler, I was more insecure and more confident than I am now. Contradictory, yes, but true. Maybe it wasn’t confidence. Maybe it was my naive developing brain that made me feel invincible; capable of anything life threw my way. Maybe that’s why I could do those teenage things I shake my head at today.
Yelling things out loud in public for the whole mall to hear. Calling across a room of crowded teens to a cute boy. Driving like a maniac to impress friends.
If the me I am now, full of experiences and expectations, were to step into the shoes of a high schooler today – would I make it? Could I hack it? Is today’s world that much harder than the world I learned to maneuver pre- and post-9/11? Would I use what I know now to make things better or would I fall into the trappings of peer-pressure and clique-policitcs?
Would I re-invent myself? Be more daring? Choose a different group of friends? Try out for different things? Work harder and worry less? Care more or be more careless? Make the same mistakes or new ones? Would I choose the college I chose?
Who would I be now?
This isn’t a Disney movie. I’m not Matthew Perry disguised as Zac Efron. I’m not Jamie Lee Curtis playing her (thankfully not real life) daughter, Lindsey Lohan.
I’m just living a real life. I’m just me. And I’m me because of who I was then.
Who would I be now?
I’d be me.
I ask. You answer.
- Who would you be now?
- Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back?
- Do you think we can still relate to teenagers or do you think the world has changed to a point where we’re now clueless?
- What would you do differently if you were to go back?