A day or two ago, a former high school classmate posted on Facebook an old video from our days in seminary. This was quite exciting for me; four years have now passed since seminary, and this particular video was two years older than that. It was fun to see everyone again (and to be surprised at how little I was and how much hair I had). Before long, I found myself digging through a whole list of old seminary videos that I previously had no idea had been put online. What a treasure trove of memories! But of those videos, this one had the most memories of all for me:
I've been doing a little bit of reflecting lately, and have realized that I haven't really given my high school experience enough credit. Granted, it's certainly not something I would do over again. There was a lot that stunk about high school, and I have no regrets about moving on with my life. That stage is over, and I'm on to bigger things now. In conversations with friends, it would seem they feel similarly; the past is in the past, and we're looking to the future.
Yet it was a good experience, overall, and there are some things I find myself missing on occasion. For example, everybody was in one place. Most often, talking to a friend was merely a matter of walking across the lunch room--and that was only if that friend wasn't already sitting at my table. Even if we didn't get to talk or spend a whole lot of time together, at the very least we saw each other at some point every day. I didn't hang out with or even like everyone in high school, but they were all there. I saw them; I passed them in the halls; I had classes with them. They weren't just pictures and text on Facebook.
Ah, Facebook. Thanks to Facebook, I know more about what's going on in my friends' lives now than ever before. But comparatively, I never see or really talk to them. I mean, I try to spend time with what friends I can, and I do okay considering everything else I'm up to. In general, the people I hung out with the most in high school are the ones I'm still hanging out with now. It's really nice; I'm grateful to have them, and the fact that they're still around after all this time means a lot to me. But we're quite a bit more scattered now, and our schedules have become such that it's difficult to pull everyone together very often.
I'm not complaining about that, because it's growth. We're all progressing in our own ways, and I believe our lives are richer now than they were back in high school. But there's still a lesson to be learned from the comparison between high school and now: the value of real, offline interaction. Watching those old seminary videos brought back a forgotten sense of appreciation for everyone I went to school with, from closest friends to passing acquaintances. It's the kind of appreciation that can't be adequately expressed on the Internet; it's something just for the real world. In our day of information on demand, that's probably one of the most important things someone can learn.
And that's why I have no problem writing a post today about high school. We don't have to live in the past to reflect on and learn from it. Looking back, I see so much more that I can apply in my life today than just what was needed for me to graduate. For instance, another lesson from reviewing the high school experience might be one in time management and structure. I was always late for school back in the day. I hated getting up early, and couldn't wait to get home once the last bell rang. I would have rather used my time as a permanent vacation: no deadlines, nowhere to be. But since then I've grown up just enough to realize I need structure. I need goals. I need plans. I need follow-through. And I look back at my school experiences for an example to follow: important things first, a little bit of free time (but not too much) between tasks in order to rejuvenate, things like that.
And the list of lessons goes on.
So, here's to high school. Thanks for the memories.