In high school I thought every day was a singular event. It was an amazing day or a horrible day or a nothing at all day or the worst day of your life, and then you shed your skin overnight and the next day you were an entirely different person. At the same time I also thought nothing would ever get better and life was an enormous joke with no punchline, and more often than not I still find myself thinking that so I’m not really sure how much has changed.
In high school I operated under the timelessness mentality, which is when someone older and wiser starts in with “When I was your age” and you wave them off vaguely saying “Yeah yeah, I have time.” Time didn’t have real meaning in high school and I didn’t know how much I had or when I’d have it, just that I fundamentally, nebulously did. I still think I have time, though no one says “When I was your age” to me anymore because they know whatever they did when they were my age won’t happen to me anytime soon.
In high school I remember thinking sex was weird and hard. To me it was this huge stressful ordeal that involved mixed feelings and awkward moments and nothing ever went smoothly, not even when you smoked a joint beforehand and tried to relax, and now it’s been eight years since my first time and although I’ve had more practice I’m pretty sure it’s only gotten weirder.
In high school I was convinced you fell in love with your viscera, not your head. If they said the right thing at the right time and made you laugh with your whole pancreas and you got that warm flooding feeling of being loved and appreciated and chosen, you were meant to be together forever and everything was going to be beautiful and nothing would hurt. Of course now we know better, we know real love (probably) involves more than a rush of oxytocin, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still hold out for this kind of thing. If someone comes along who says the right thing at the right time and makes me laugh with my whole pancreas, I’ll be sure to pay extra attention.
As far as love is concerned, in high school I thought the absolute height of love was a mixtape. Actually, it still is. If someone should send me a meaningful, well thought out playlist on Spotify, I am convinced that hydrangeas will blossom spontaneously in my ribcage and my lungs will deflate in a beautiful indigo death.
And if someone was your friend in high school, you hung out with them and that was the end of it. You were never “too busy” for your friends. You put off your homework and stayed up all night, because these were the people who got you and made you feel less crazy and therefore meant the world. Now with our jobs and our lives and our everything it’s hard to even find time for ourselves, let alone our friends, but if you and I are friends I will absolutely put off my homework and stay up all night, because the longer I’m out of high school the more I realize someone who gets you and makes you feel less crazy is an increasingly important and unattainable thing.