More so on the weekends, I find my mind wandering to the weird; no adult thoughts allowed 😉 I’ve been trying to put this title to a story for quite some time and I am officially throwing in the towel on it. Some ideas are promising and fall very flat, c’est la vie!
It dawned upon me last night that even in adulthood it is possible to still feel the same way you did as a child beginning in a new school. The butterflies, the annoyance, and the fear of starting something new and failing at least a little bit of it is terrifying. Daunting is the best description I can think of when it comes to moving while still in K – 12th grades. I did learn quite a few lessons from it though.
Lesson number 1- you can only be physically alone if you want to be. I’ve heard this from people so many times over the years that it hurts my head to think about why nobody else does this and it is so simple- if you are new in town, go out and talk to people. Yes, I guarantee you that you will be stared at like a crazy person, at least half of the time. The rest of the time you will be ignored, ridiculed, or asked to leave, but the point is, all you need is one time of finding people with whom you can relate. This will get the momentum going and more than likely, these are not the people with whom you will really bond, but the people who will keep you company through the longer search for true friendship. ESPECIALLY in High School.
I can remember one move where I stayed in the house for a few weeks, maybe went to a movie, then finally got fed up with the boredom, looked my mother in the face and said, “I’m going out to make some friends now.” And that’s exactly what I did. I took the dog to the park and started talking to people until one of them seemed cool enough to hang out with!
Lesson number 2- Go with the crowd. So, you’ve spent a good amount of time being shunned, unless of course you are popular and good looking (just a fact, don’t yell at me) and you have found a group of people that will take you in. Now, I’m not suggesting that you should go against your own conscience. You must be true to yourself, but you also need to weigh the risk and reward of telling someone what you are really thinking. The only people who want honesty from you are people that you don’t know and those who truly love you. Sometimes, even then, you should really have your edit button firmly set to delicate before you speak.
One fantastic and terrible thing that the internet has provided is a consequence free zone where people can say whatever they are thinking. This can be good, but mostly it is bad. The written word is constantly misconstrued (I am 100% guilty of being that guy) and the lack of physical que’s can allow a person to keep speaking past the point of good sense and truly hurting other unintentionally or intentionally (i.e.- cyber bullying).
Lesson number 3- People change, it’s not personal. Alright, so you’ve drifted away from the friends that you’d made before you uprooted your life. It happens. They have been changing, you have been changing and, to be frank, who wants to stagnate? If you don’t grow physically and emotionally, then you will not become the person that you want to be- where’s the excitement in that?! You are never just one thing. So you identify yourself as a jock, or a drama nerd, or an artist- does that mean that you don’t enjoy aspects of each?
I am a pretty boring person quite frankly. I go to work in my neutral suits, do the grocery shopping, blog, write, and listen to music, but I enjoy theater, building things with table saws, Rugby, College Football, and if I had my way I would probably wear nothing but black. What does that make me?
With each move, my mother would tell me, “It is a chance to re-invent yourself.” Well, that got to be a bit tiresome by the 6th move and I really didn’t want to do it, but in that span I tried to join the choir (wasn’t too bad either), I tried to be a cheerleader (I was TERRIBLE), I joined Drama, was on a competitive swim team, and even dabbled in Role Playing Games (GREAT exercise for writers BTW), but none of the stuck. When I got to college, I stopped trying and ended up looking like a hippie, took up scuba diving, then ran a men’s Rugby team. I ask again- where would you categorize me?
Lesson number 4- Ignore all of the previous lessons. The only lesson that you need to remember is the one that my Grandmother taught me when I was 5- treat others the way that you would like to be treated. There is a caveat to this, not everyone is deserving of your time and energy, but don’t be rude. Just flip on that internal “edit” button and walk away because, in reality, not many people honestly care what you think and you do yourself no service by making sure that they’ve heard you. Pick your battles and know your enemy, that is also some of the best advice I’ve been given. I’m just working on the application of it all- maybe I’ll get it by the time I’m 60 🙂