1. Being asked where you’re from is like a difficult trivia question. You don’t even know where to begin, or how to go about selecting one of the many options as an answer. When someone asks me the big question, I figure I was born in Tacoma, Washington, but I spent a significantly larger portion of my childhood in San Antonio, Texas. Then I moved to Arizona. Do I just say I’m from my favorite place? Do I say where I spent the most years? Or is it just Tacoma, since technically that’s where I was first introduced to Earth? Suddenly, several seconds have gone by and I’m blankly staring at whoever asked where I’m from, like a buffering computer trying to load an answer.
2. It’s impossible not to adopt some tendencies of those around you. I picked up plenty of vernacular along the way. I still say “y’all” a lot–a term I picked up during childhood years in Texas. The ways people phrase things vary by city, so when you move around, you acquire an assortment of slang. Don’t make fun of the person who calls soda “pop,” you don’t know their zip code history.
3. Schools most certainly aren’t on level playing field, even within the same city. I switched districts and it was schooling culture shock. I went from being an advanced prodigy student in a subpar district to struggling to earn C’s in a top notch one. Seriously, one school I went to was doing ‘color by numbers’ in 7th grade, and I was brilliant. Teachers were like, “This kid is going places–he colors inside the lines, he knows his multiplication tables, WOW.” Then, I went to a better school that was doing actual mathematics and my legacy crumpled the instant I attempted long division.
4. Lifelong friends are such a rare, special, undervalued thing. Since I moved a lot, I have no friends today that I met before middle school, which is still a long time ago, but not quite the same as knowing someone since diapers, or when classroom lesson plans included naptime.
5. The plus side is that, as a kid, making friends was a cakewalk. In elementary school, it was as simple as this: You like Power Rangers and juice? Me too, let’s hang. I made 90% of my friendships by blurting out Nickelodeon references until people responded to one of ’em and we could bond. Even if you didn’t have a ton in common, all it took were some edible offerings to win somebody over. A Capri-Sun or the miniature candy bar in your Lunchables served as a sufficient one-time sacrifice capable of jolting life into the start of a wonderful friendship.
6. It’s easy to forget how many ridiculously great amenities we’re lucky to have every day. I know this because when you first move into a place, sometimes your bed isn’t fully constructed by the end of the night, and you realize how big of a diva you are when you’re upset about having to sleep on a mattress on the floor. Or there’s no cable and internet setup yet and you’re like, yeah I have a roof over my head but I can’t watch stuff or be online, so this is a stale bologna sandwich away from being prison.
7. JUST FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS, OR AT LEAST SKIM THROUGH ‘EM. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve ignored the instructions on, incorrectly assembled, disassembled, and, with the help of directions I should’ve looked at initially, reassembled correctly.
8. We’re all kind of hoarders; some just suffer from an extreme case of collecting garbage. It’s never more evident than when you’re trying to clear out a room just how much useless rubbish you’ve stashed. I’ve still got plenty of things in my possession that should’ve been thrown out in 1995. Not even sentimental stuff like report cards or school photos, but like, broken portable CD players and AOL free trial discs.
9. Oversized moving boxes make great toys…until they’re taken from you because they’ve got to be used for packing. Same goes for empty moving trucks, before being filled up.
10. All things come to an end…good and bad. The plus side of pesky bullies or teachers you weren’t fond of was the fact that their reign or terror would be short-lived, hooray!
11. Change can be nice, but it’s always comforting to have some things stay the same… What I’m saying is, it’s great that literally every Walgreens, Applebee’s and Target, no matter where you live, look exactly the same inside. Ah, familiarity, so soothing.