Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

Seems like a juicy column, right? I’m guessing my high school friends are hoping it is.

The teenage years! What a ride!

I knew even back then I didn’t want to grow up. Only, even I was smart enough to realize that at least in the area of relationships – I needed to!

My high school friends and I are still close. No, not in the creepy we never let go of high school and grew up kinda way. In the normal, we went out into the world, built beautiful lives and families and stayed connected.

Somehow this huge network of people stayed together long before the Facebook thing. Not just with our best friends or close friends, but with all our people.

The ones that in many ways introduced us to life when we were just old enough to meet it.

People often ask me how I stayed close to so many of my high school friends. I usually joke and say that our high school was more like a college. It was way too big and we were way too unsupervised.

Like any other teenage melting pot, there existed the typical catty, petty moments that accompany that age. However, even then, despite the different cliques, there was a universal unity amongst us. It was unusual and I often wonder if growing up in the nation’s capital provided this underlying understanding and tolerance of individual differences.

A few years ago, I am chatting with friends at a reunion.

One of the guys asks me why I did and didn’t date a few guys?

All I could think was REALLY?? Do we have to go back to the beginning of what led me to this ending?

You know what I mean! A lot of us go on in life to shall we say – MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES!

The high school girl in me ESSENTIALLY didn’t get much wiser with age. BUT – I digress…

“I liked ‘hard to get’ back then,” I say. “Only I had no idea that ‘hard to get’ was code for difficult. Back then it just seemed like code ‘for fun!'”

“What does that mean????” He asks as they all roar with laughter.

I have definitely confused them with this riddle of self-reflection. Too deep for this late in the night.

“I didn’t date or stay with the guys I should have,” I say. “Back then I think I was a little immature or fickle.” (As a side note: A few guys reading this might agree with the latter, but I’m sticking with immature)

“BUT, in short – it just means I was young and dumb!” We all laugh. “Isn’t that what we are supposed to be at that age?”

What I am really telling them is two things:

Thing ONE:
It’s pretty high school normal to like someone until they like us back – OR – like the people who don’t like us while we are also not ready for those that do.

Thing TWO:
It’s not fun or challenging or healthy to go for ‘hard to get.’ Sure, like I always say the world’s not black and white so sometimes it works out and people mature. Only ‘hard to get’ can also mean that either this person just really isn’t that into you OR they’re too caught up in their own world to make time for you.

You have a fifty-fifty shot at them maturing in terms of relationships. As I said, a lot do. Only emotionally I was part of that fifty that did not and still gravitated towards the same relationship.

But back to the reunion…

They are still laughing. Still trying to decipher exactly what I mean. In hindsight, this might have been a better conversation for the beginning of the night. I find myself smiling. These are the guys that I admire. The ones who truly love their wives and children. The ones who stay devoted to their families.

So back in high school when we were all being introduced to the world and LOVE…

Did some of us make good choices then? Yes
Did some of us end up with our high school loves? Yes
Did some of us have the one that got away? Yes
Did some of us mature and go onto to great relationships? Yes
Did some of us continue to make the same mistakes? Yes

Nothing has changed over the years. These are the same answers to anyone who grew up and out of that teenage melting pot called high school.

Though I may not have understood love back then…

I ended up with so many that I love. A group of people whose friendships matured far beyond our adolescence.

I like to say, that it is with our old friends that we once again recognize our young selves.

The kind of love that grew up together.
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