High School Is In The Past..

I will be coming up on the 33rd anniversary of high school graduation in 2013. I left it behind in my rear view mirror and have watched it get smaller and smaller as time goes on.

I have no desire to attend any high school related social function. In Canada for most of us high school was not that remarkable an experience. In contrast to my American cousins, high school was the centre of their lives. There were always extra curricular activities that went far beyond the confines of the classroom, even so much as fancy names for each year: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior. As if each year had some sort of mythical magical experience attached to it that was somehow epitomized by the grand social function for that year.  The entire experience of that year was somehow going to immortalized and remembered fondly 30 or 40 years after graduation and repeated to one's grandchildren.  It seems high school was the high point of so many lives, where so many people seemed to have peaked.

So much of our energy in high school was wasted on the social aspect. Trying to decypher the unwritten rules of the caste system. Which group we were trying to fit in with and be accepted by.   Opinions, appearance, attitudes and interests were all manufactured so as to be able to fit in. Manufacturing detailed and carefully planned facades.   Even at that young age I had decided that I did not give a hoot about what other people though of me, and refused to bend over backwards in order to please some kid who would very soon be forgotten. I had an experience in the real adult world prior to leaving high school.

I took the second last semester off due to a scheduling conflict. I took a real world blue collar job for 4 months, purchased a car and drove to work every day. I worked with real adults who had real responsibilities. One person faced a life threatening illness, another saw red flags in his upcomming marriage and was wondering how to integrate his single freedom into marriage. One worked two jobs to maintain a lifestyle and trophy wife far beyond his means. A franchise owner thoroughly dissillussioned with the fact that the store did not come with a money printing machine. An assisstant manager who sold merchandise out the back door and had to stage a break in to cover for the missing goods. A man child unable to rationalize his wife's pregnancy. Totally incompetent people. People who were paying for bad decisions they made as kids in their adult life. People trying to raise families. Trying to make ends meet, mortgage payments, rent, car payments, keeping their kids in hockey or university or whatever. Bills bills bills.

There was no time for goofing off. One could not pick and choose assignments nor prioritize them based upon interest. There were schedules, deadlines, productivity expectations that had to be met. No time for socializing or oogling girls. I got to come home tired, sore, dirty and hungry. Going to bed early to rest up to the next day and start over again. Eagerly awaiting the schedule rotation for a Saturday off. Nasty customers, nasty co workers. Nobody actually gave a hoot about how one dressed, wore their hair, brand of running shoes, or which band/singer/entertainer was cool or not cool.  At the end of the day, we each went our separate ways there not really being any need to socialize with the same people we had spend 8 or 9 hours with.

This was a far cry from the world of high school. It put the whole thing into perspective. I wondered how many of the kids would be prepared for this once they graduated in a few months and did not go onto post secondary education. What was so important in high school was totally meaningless in the real world. I drove away and have not looked back.

This is not to say I did not benefit from high school. There was valuable learning and some really great teachers I went back to thank.

I have grown up, beyond and away from that time in my life. There are so many bigger and better things outside of high school. My glory days were not spent within the confines of a school trying to impress the teachers or more so, etch my image into the memory of fellow students.

There is an alumni site for the school. I recognize many names, but can no longer attach faces, and only a few friends. We went our separate ways. What bonded us together back then, the social aspect of school is now totally inconsequential I am not the person I was then, most likey they are not. We likely have nothing in common any longer. I have grown away from our common interests, I trust many of them have done so also. I wish no particular evil upon anybody from that time, I hope things have gone well for them.

I have no desire to hear about other people's fortunes, demise or misery and I have no desire to rub noses into my business. I need not keep them as a barometer of my own life.

There is a facebook page for those who still socialize. Pictures of the latest social funcitons, group hug photos of guys crunched together always with scuffed beer bottles in hand. The blue eyeliner girls on the couch with pastel coloured beverages in strange glasses. Good thing they started with the hair, clothes and makeup so early, they really need it today. A scanned, well preserved full color newspaper article about the big game. Gathering at venues probably managed by the organizer of the event, that seem to cater to a clientele that is eager to use their first credit card.

I care not what motivates them. Perhaps they formed life long friendships in high school, but I get the impression that they really have never left high school.

I have tried to find information on the star students of the day. Those who were rewarded for acedemic prowess, excelling in the arts or the football field. None seem to be noteworthy in these fields. I ran into a few douchebags here and there, which seems to be their chosen profession. Some people do not change.  The cool kids, the in-crowd, all of the other cliques from the scattered information I can gather seem to have settled into mundane, middle class, adult lives.  The great ones, the stars, the noteworthy form those hallowed halls it seems have not been able to carry that through their adult lives.

I have gladly dumped the entire experience onto the trash heap of history. It sinks farther and farther down with each passing year. I went on to bigger and better things and continue to do so. Besides, it is more fun to spend a weekend with my grand children up North rather than relive the past. Even if it is only for a few hours every ten years.
Older1962 Older1962
51-55, M
1 Response Jan 10, 2013

Holy crap. That was the most accurate summary of high school I've ever read. I didn't go to my 30th reunion this year and I couldn't quite describe why. I had a good time in high school, plenty of friends. It's just as soon as a year after graduation came around I realized I had little or nothing in common with most of them.

I met up with a few in the fall a year after graduating. They complained about how little money they had, and that their parents wouldn't cough any more up for them. I was kind of stunned that getting a job never occurred to them while they were away at school. I was going to a local college at the time, working as a construction laborer on weekends and at nights when shifts opened up.

My hands would "lock" into circles the diameter of a shovel handle. These pukes were complaining about working in the cafeteria once a week as part of their work study. I would have loved working 4 hours a week! I had enough money for rent, gas and insurance, as well as covering the cost of my books for school. My parents paid the tuition which was as much as they could afford so I'm not complaining.

I can definitely say I appreciate talking to the genuine friends I had from high school. I still talk to my best friend once or twice a week. As for the rest of the self-absorbed wastes of time; I'm not missing anything.