Tonight I watched Glee, my newest vice. Its about a bunch of high school kids in a glee club who sing and dance and basically are outcasts.
I watch it because its entertaining but also at times heartwrenching.
Is there ever a more difficult time in our lives than high school?
Those years shape us more than we would care to admit. It is the time we pass from childhood into the vast realm of adulthood. The first steps into our lives in the "real world". It is an emotional roller coaster.
It is the best of times and the worst of times. It is scary, exciting, fun and horrendous. Sometimes all in one day. It is where sometimes life long friendships begin and often first loves end.
It is a time of firsts. First kiss, first date, first car, first job, first time one starts to realize how really complex life can be...
There is a bittersweetness to all those firsts.
For some the firsts hurt and humilate. For others they become cherished memories. And others, regrets.
I remember feeling so deeply and intensely during my teen years. It seemed at times my skin could not hold all the wonder, awe and passion I felt for life. I felt on the cusp of something huge about to happen. I felt as if I would explode if I couldn't get words out. I wrote loads of very bad poetry. I dreamed, I listened to music. I discovered things, I learned about people. I was insatiably curious. I wanted to experience life.
I remember crushes on boys who are now grandfathers. I remember how sweet that first kiss was. How it was innocent and breathtaking and so very real. I remember the first time someone told me that he loved me. How thrilled and frightened I was. How I burst into tears and later how my mother held me and let me cry. I remember when he left. I wonder to this day where he is and how his life turned out.
I remember my first car, that first trip after I got my license, solo, with no adult in the car. I remember feeling free and immortal. I was flying out of the nest and I soared.
The firsts didn't end with high school, but they became fewer and far between as I grew up and older. At 50 its hard to be surprised. Its hard to find the joy of discovery when one has seen so much. The world is not as innocent as it once was. Kids now experience their first kiss way earlier than I did.
There are still firsts but they don't always come with joy. The first classmate to die. The first time you realize you can't go home again because the house you grew up in, is no more. Just a memory.
The first time you realize that you are the age your parents were when you were in high school.
The first time a classmate's child enters college...
I miss the teenage me. The girl who had wonder in her soul and longed for life to begin. Who had so many years and so many firsts stretching before her. I wish I could go back and tell her she was OK. That life would be OK even when it was hard and her dreams were dashed. I wish I could tell her that her heart would be broken, not once, but many times but she would survive. I wish I could tell her that love is not what she thought it would be. But love is something more than she could imagine.
I watch the shows about teenagers and I find myself longing just a bit to experience life again as an innocent. To go back and do over my mistakes. To undo the hurts, to ask for forgiveness, to say I love you before people faded from my life.
I can't say that I have no regrets. I do. But for the most part, I don't regret the firsts. I remember them all, some good, some bad. I remember the firsts because I grew from them and learned. And I mourn them because I will never, ever get to experience them again. Life takes a little of the magic with it as it rolls out. It can turn us bitter if we let it. Or it can leave us with lovely memories.
I think that for me, I shall strive to find some "firsts" that I may have missed. I think I shall try to recall that girl with the dreams and hopes in my heart and maybe fan her passion back to life.
I think I am ready for a new beginning. Somewhere, somehow. I am starting a new chapter. Perhaps the first of many...