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Thursday, July 4, 2013

You Peaked At Eighteen, Cool...

I will stop with my blog titles being Hoodie Allen lyrics soon, but hearing that song a few times sparked my thoughts a bit over the past week.  I did the same thing with Krewella and that ended eventually, so this is bound to fizzle out as well.
Here is the song now instead of at the end of the blog:
A precursory warning is that this is not a sob-story about how horrible my teenage life was, because for the most part it was not.
This was me in 2002:
This was twelve years ago, at the beginning of my sophomore year.  Around this time I had been restoring my first car as I could afford doing so for about a year, had my first part-time job at a Hallmark store, and made the random decision to pick up a guitar.  Those events during that year made a sort of mold for who I became from that point forward and defined the person I was for the remainder of my high school life.  

A few weeks into that year, I met a group of friends who were mostly rubbish toward me, but still produced two who I could always count on. We were sort of in the middle of the cliche spectrum of high school life.  Sure, I had those people who hated me for whatever reason and tried to make my life miserable because doing so gave them something to do, and I remember exactly who they are right now.  The thing is, I never really bothered anyone during that time and treated school as something I had to do, leaving my real life far outside of those walls.  I will never forget the day I played a jazz piece on one of my electric guitars for my English class, shocking everyone; or later doing the same thing again by playing #41 by the Dave Matthews Band in a different class.  Teachers asked me to join the school newspaper a few times as well after being (seemingly) impressed by my writing.  Honors English/Literature?  No way.  College English?  That would have required waking up much earlier.

Instead of trying to be something apart from who I was and getting involved with the academics in school, I just kept to myself and went about things in my own way.  I was being encouraged toward academics, but that was not really who I wanted to be.  When you look at the alternative of things I could have been doing at the time on a destructive path, things do not seem all that bad.  

My peers in high school told me I should go after the music industry and chase that down until it made something of me; and I did just that for a while as the first time I had taken the advice of anyone from my school.  Those years were fun and I learned some really great lessons from the experience, as well as developing my character a bit, so there is something I gained out of those four years, right?

Some time before that, social media had popped up in the form of MySpace, just after I graduated from high school.  This was a platform unlike any other at the time and being a stupid teenager, I tried to "friend" anyone and everyone to see how long my list was.  Fast-forward to about a year later and I did the same thing on Facebook.  The past year, however, I have made some changes.  I was a self-admitted Facebook junkie for a few years and became entirely enthralled with seeing what the more obscure people I knew from years before were doing with their lives.  The majority of my high school graduating class was on my "Friend" list, even the people who did not like me and made attempts to torment me.  I went about my Facebooking ways until about a year ago, when one of those very people who hated me for no reason nearly a decade before sent me a rude, personal message in private.  I was not hurt by him sending it, old memories did not resurface, but what happened?  At that point I realized that some people never change, some people never grow, and those same people cannot escape the past they created for themselves.  I went to work on my Facebook "friends", starting with him...

Within the course of that year, I have whittled down my list from nearly seven-hundred to under two-hundred.  This shows that if I knew you in high school and you are reading this blog from a Facebook link, you made the cut.  Congratulations?  
The whole point of this blog was to show how exactly influence works in your life.  I had teachers telling me to take harder classes because I was not challenged enough in some subjects, but I knew that was not a part who I wanted to be.  My peers told me to chase music dreams and that I could make it, but I have no regrets for preferring to have fun at it instead of making a living by doing so;  yet I am thankful for their push and no less passionate about making music, even today.  Having negativity thrown by those who fruitlessly hated me for no reason never bothered me enough to get dramatic, even though their attempts were sometimes fierce. What I mean is, you take the good right there with the bad in your life and everyone goes through this in some way or another.  Being able to carry yourself in life is hugely important as everyone has haters in the same way they have admirers.  Everyone has those who influence you to help you grow in your own way, and those who influence you to grow in the way they want you to.

There are a (very) few people I still talk to from high school, but we have had enough experiences together outside the bubble that we do not even consider those years to be the obvious connection to each other. Yet, over time I have realized there still exist those people who cannot let go of who they were as a young teenager as if their life's peak was during that exact point in time.  I never wanted to be that person, so I leave it mostly in the past now.

My ten year reunion is coming up in 2014 and I was asked about attending by someone on the committee a few months ago.  No.
I am in far too humble of a place to go anywhere with the expectation of bragging or showing off in any capacity as most do; or even watching it happen.  Me knowing that anyone's baby is the "cutest thing in the world" or that their "Perfect marriage to the greatest guy!" in 2008, followed by "My ex-husband is an ass!" in 2011 because of your Facebook is more than enough to keep me away from said reunion, and the entire reason that I removed you from my list of "friends" in the first place.
I have enough people of real importance in my life to tend to now.
I have an entire generation to influence that has not been born yet.
Why would I live in a past where I tried so hard to be unlike anyone else?

Grace and Peace,
    -Drew





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