Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Becoming ok with where I am

Think back on your life. I'm sure you can pinpoint a few things you wish you could have done or places you could have gone. Sometimes it's really hard to get over these things. For me, I wish I could have gone to the high school in the next town over.

I went to a Catholic elementary school in the next town over from mine. I spent 9 years with the same basic group of kids, learning, living, and growing up. When 8th grade came around, everyone was concerned with where they would be attending high school. My parents wanted me to go to a Catholic high school, and to some extent, I wanted to, as well, but the nearest Catholic high school was 1 hour in any direction from me. This initially was not a concern to me, but as 8th grade continued on, I realized that I would be leaving all my friends. I also realized that my life had been completely in the next town over- school, dance, piano lessons, plays, friends. Since I was losing everything, I decided I did not want my life to be in another town, I wanted my life to be in my town so I would not be risking anything. Reluctantly, my parents agreed to let me go to our local public high school.

So high school began- I at my public school and my friends at their public school. This really did not deter our friendships (at least the close, real ones), but it did put a strain on them. I always felt like I was missing out on something because I so desperately wanted to be with my friends at their high school. Because I hail from rural PA, even though my friends were only in the next town over, they were in a different school district than me, so I would have needed to come up with some extraordinary reason to switch schools. Oh and I tried.

I tried to talk my parents into moving to the town- that failed (my dad has owned our house since the 70's). I wanted to play soccer, which my school did not yet offer- that also failed. I looked at the curriculum and tried to find things in theirs that I wanted, that would help me advance, that I could not take at my school- that failed. All four years of high school I tried everything I could, but everything I tried failed, and it all came down to the fact that my dad did not want me to go to a big high school (theirs was about 3x the size of mine).

Don't get me wrong, I had a great time at my high school. I made some close friends, was involved with just about every club you can imagine, played sports, involved with music and drama, newspaper and poetry magazine, everything. I was on the high honor roll, held 3 offices, 2 editorships my senior year, and was captain of my soccer team, as well as defensive MVP. I participated in everything, lettered 13 times, was involved heavily with my Church and youth group. I was always doing something, especially hanging out with my friends and going on adventures. Something that haunted me my entire time, though, was an unconscious decision I made my freshman year- I didn't think 4 years was long enough to create the kind of friendships and bonds that I had made in 9 years during elementary school, so I decided I wouldn't really try.

The phrase, "God has a purpose for everything" is tossed around a lot, and it always applies. A lot of good came out of me going to my high school. Recently, I sponsored one of my closest girl friends from high school for her Confirmation. I was also able to participate in so many different things and was not made to choose between them. I knew the names of everyone in my graduating class. So many good things, but part of me still wishes I could have gone to high school with my elementary friends.

The close friends I had in elementary school are still my close friends today. One girl and I have been friends since we were 3 and another and I became best friends at the lunch table when we were 12, bonding over Hanson. What makes it hard is that I am so close to these people, they know everything about me, and I love them so very much that I want to be able to share everything with them, and I was denied sharing 4 years with them that I felt I should be able to share with them. But those friendships are also the strongest today because I didn't go to high school with them. It taught us that friendships transcend school halls and seeing each other every day, something my high school friendships tend to be lacking. We all got exactly what we needed and experienced exactly what we were supposed to experience. And we still are.

I have a few mottos in life, but one my mom taught me by living it: don't miss any opportunities. I may feel like I missed a lot in high school, but really I took an opportunity that was presented to me and got so much more than I could ever have imagined. In 7th grade, one of my close friends moved away and her mom said to us, "Distances don't break up friends, people do" and I whole-heartedly believe that. Although I wish I could have gone to high school with my friends, I am learning that what I got was exactly what I needed and brought me to where I am today. God knows better than I do.

This leads into the next post Home very nicely...

P.S. If there's anything you want me to write on, message me. I'm like a jukebox, I take requests!

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