For a while in college I worked as a public safety officer (security guard) for a local mall in Salt Lake City Utah (where I’m originally from). If you know me you’re probably thinking this was an odd job for me to have and you’re mostly right. I never really thought of myself as the security guard type but really the job was mostly customer service. I liked the job in some ways, helping people out, catching people doing inappropriate yet hilarious things, playing jokes on coworkers and so on. In other ways I hated it, patrolling (walking around) parking lots by myself (bored out of my mind) in all-weather. I often hoped something would happen so I’d have something to do. Not something bad like someone’s car getting broken into or someone getting injured. Just something like a panhandler I could politely ask to leave property or even someone asking me for the time.
Anyways, this post isn’t actually about my job at the time but a conversation I had while working there (don’t ask me why I explained the job then, I just felt like it, so there). I was talking to another safety officer, let’s call him K, (we probably shouldn’t have been talking since we were generally supposed to be split up and each patrolling a different area, we’ll pretend we had a legitimate reason to be in the same place) about high school. When he asked me if I would go back to my high school days if I could. I believe my response was something to the effect of (mild profanity alert) “hell no!” To which K responded ” you must not have been popular then, if you were popular you would want to go back.” At the time I just shrugged it off. I though it was an annoying response but I didn’t initially realize why. My feelings were hurt a little at his assumption but that wasn’t it. I wasn’t particularly popular in high school but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like high school. I really did. Of course I liked my friends and although I wasn’t “popular” I had quite a few. I liked getting good parts in most of the plays I auditioned for (unlike college where I got tiny parts in a tiny percentage of plays I auditioned for). I even liked a lot of my classes. I have countless awesome high school memories.
So why, even when I’d only been out of high school for a few years did I not want to go back? The answer is in the question really, I didn’t want to move backward, I wanted to move forward. I’d already done a fair amount since high school. I was at least half way through college and already dating the wonderful man I would marry. Of course there were negatives to high school too. The biggest being that my mood each day was determined by whether the boy I liked at the time talked to me. I also have countless bad memories from high school to go with the awesome ones. But every stage in life has its bad points (as well as good) and that’s not why I was glad to be done with the awkward teenage years.
I don’t want to bash poor K for missing high school so much. He was a couple of years younger than me and had been out of high school for no more than a year. It wasn’t surprising that he hasn’t done much since graduation. It’s the adults, in what should be the prime of their lives, still pining over high school that make me sad. It’s a clear indicator that you haven’t done much with your life if you honestly want to go back in stead of ahead. I don’t mean nostalgia, I get nostalgic a lot. And I’m sure a lot of patents can relate, when sometimes I think how nice it was to just be able to go out and see a movie spur of the moment without finding a babysitter. But of course I don’t really want to go back to my life before my beautiful girl was born, (well maybe for a few hours occasionally) she’s everything to me now. If you find yourself constantly thinking you want to go back to the way things were at some point in your life, my suggestion is to get out and do something with your life now! It doesn’t have to be something huge and world-changing, just do something. Also, really think back to your glory days. Were they really as perfect as you remember them? Somehow I doubt it.
I hope I haven’t been insensitive. I realize there are people whose current situations are so bad or who have had something so awful happen to them that they have totally legitimate reasons for wanting to go back to the past. And yes, I see the irony that my first post was about wanting to be a kid again (but just for 10 minutes). I really miss times, places and people from my past and I’m sure sometimes I get so caught up in past events I don’t stop to enjoy the here and now. I just can’t imagine living my whole life like that.
I hope K has grown up and stopped wishing for his popular high school days. Maybe he made billions with a life changing invention or saves lives everyday as a brilliant surgeon. Okay, probably not but I’d be happy just to know he has a job he enjoys and friends and maybe even a nice family of his own. As for me, I don’t care that I wasn’t popular in high school, I had fun. I know I won’t live happily ever after because no one does. The stuff that t-shirt (you know the one with the smiley face) says “happens” is always going to happen. I guess what it comes down to is you can’t go back, life is a one way track. So why keep looking back? You’ll just miss all the scenery you’re passing right here and now.