Nostalgia’s Still a Thing, Right?

Do you ever wish you could go back and do it all over again? It really doesn’t matter when or what. Is there a point in your life that you would like to go back to, having the knowledge that you have today, and do something different?

I asked myself this question once as I drove by my old high school. I graduated ’98, which feels like a whole other century, and I really haven’t looked back. I hated high school. I was nobody in high school. I had no identity. I was an average student who didn’t play sports and had very few friends. I suppose more people thought of me than I know, but for the most part, I was unpopular among the “cool kids.”

I take some of that back. I didn’t hate high school. I just loved college so much more that looking back, high school seemed miserable. But as I’ve driven by Patrick Henry High School and seen the new building that replaced the campus I once knew, I’ve been reminded of days gone by. Simpler times when my 11th grade decades project seemed like it would end me. I find myself being flooded by memories, good and bad.

Washington DC - Bus

The one picture I could find from high school. Our 9th grade (?) trip to Washington, D.C. Pretty epic. Note that I’m not actually in the picture. Which is basically what four of my yearbooks look like.

So what would I do differently? For starters, I’d have tried a lot harder in my classes. At some point in high school I realized that I could pass with C’s without trying. Maybe if I’d have put forth some kind of effort, I’d have gotten A’s.

Next, I would definitely have a lot more confidence in a lot of areas of my life. College showed me who I am as a person. I found my identity. I didn’t peak in high school like a lot of people tend to do. No, I never became an athlete or a super-genius, but I became comfortable with who I am. I’d like to be the person I am now, but back as a freshman in high school. That would invariably lead to differences in the way I handle myself and the people around me.

Third, would I ask out that girl? You know the one I’m talking about. The one that gets placed up on a pedestal. The one that movies immortalize as the girl that the geeky guy had a crush on for four years but never developed the nerve to do anything about it. I definitely had one of those. I haven’t seen her since graduation, where her life has led her today. Actually, I think we’re Facebook friends. Odd as it may seem, that doesn’t mean we’re close or anything.

I never answered that last question, though. Would I ask her out? Probably not. Look, it’s been 17 years since graduation and I am still single. This means that even the person I am now would not have the guts to ask out the crush girl from the 9th through 12th grades.

The point of all this is to say that yes, I would do some things differently. But who really wants to go through all of that again? Growing up was hard enough the first time. Who wants to learn those lessons all over again? I know I certainly don’t want to take driver’s ed again. However, I could avoid that accident I had junior year. Stuff like that would be nice.


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