“And it occurred to me; I was not part of the action. Oh God, I thought, I'm not an anthropologist. I'm the lonely voice-over narrator of adolescence. The bitter, voice-over voice.”
― Joanna Pearson,
My high school days were long long ago in a galaxy far far away. I moved away to Southern Oregon not long after my 19th birthday and have lived in Oregon for the past 46 years. Not much to remind me of my high school days up north.
I spend more time thinking of those old glory days when I am in Southern California visiting my mom. And of course...the old neighborhoods--oh look! I remember when that was just a road through vineyards, the old high school friends with whom I meet up--wow it will be so great to reconnect!, the 60s music on my car radio--C'mon Baby Light My Fire, on my iPod--He Ain't Heavy; He's My Brother. Most everything surrounding me down south brings back emotions and flashes of memory.
I just wanted to fit in somehow. We lived down in the boonies rather than in the thick of the school kids. My friends from elementary and junior high didn't go to early school with the bulk of the school kids at the high school. More than three-quarters of the kids in my junior high went to a different high school. So fitting in meant changing groups, learning the "rules," and meeting new people. For a shy child throughout my life until mid-eighth grade, this wasn't perfect but doable. I worked at it :)
By my junior year I had learned the ropes. I started dating a football player. My friends were the leaders of the class, of the school. But I was rather unique in that I also had groups of friends in multiple cliques--geeks and freaks and groups of multi-ethnicity.
Senior year things changed. I changed as I began to come into myself. I started dating a Marine who then went overseas. I started protesting the war in Vietnam (while still supporting my fella over there). I pulled away from the leaders of the school and hung more with fringe groups. The stoners, the nerds, former leader-group people who had also pulled away. I was 17 and naively felt I knew a huge bunch of stuff about life.
And looking back now with the wisdom and privilege of age, I realize I was not unique in my emotions and desire to fit in somewhere. The path of my journey was unique but the raft on which I rode was so very much like most teens' rafts. We want to be accepted, validated. We want to be loved. We want good, real friends, friends we can rely on when needed. We are all just looking at how we fit into the world.
And at 65, I realize our goals are still relatively the same. Hopefully we have some life-time friends...but we still want acceptance, want love, reliable friends. And how we fit into the world constantly changes as we move through that world.