My trip back to 2000

I had the joy of attending my 15th high school reunion a couple of weeks ago. I’m not certain what I expected from it, but I was amazed by how swiftly my mind was filled with the insecurities of a 17-year-old girl.

People come in to your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

My two best friends were not going – that I knew as we are still in touch after 25+ years {Wow. I just did the math on that one!}. But, other than one great friend who I did love catching up with, no one I really hung out with in high school was there.

I will be the first to say that I didn’t exactly “fit in” to any one group in high school… OK, middle school as well. I just never seemed to have the same interests that most did.

In 7th grade, we got to pick one extra class and I chose Newspaper {pretty good seeing as I now have a degree in Journalism & Communications}. But it seemed that every other friend chose Future Homemakers of America (FHA)… even the guys. So, in 8th grade, I figured, I’ll try FHA.  Nope. By that time, there was a new club everyone was a part of and I was stuck in a class I didn’t really care about – though it did teach me some good skills.

In high school, I was literally the ONLY senior on the soccer team. In addition to that, there was no interest by girls at the time to play soccer in high school, so I was one of two girls on the boys team.

Although 1/3 of our high school was in FFA (formerly knows as Future Farmers of America), very few of my close friends were in it.

Now, I do want to say that I am very glad that I chose to do the things that I wanted to do. These activities helped me grow as a person and truly helped me become the person I am today. However, being involved in things that your friends are not can sometimes make a young girl feel very lonely and unwanted.

This was the hardest time in my life as I never felt as though I fit in to any one group. Oh, I tried! I wanted so badly to belong – to the hardship of my closest friendships at times and to the hardship of myself at other times. But, my very best friends were also very honest with me.

My friends called me out on my taking advantage of the friendships I did have and so badly needed. They told my parents when I was battling an eating disorder. They made me feel overloaded with love when I didn’t feel like I deserved an ounce.

I remember my dad telling me in high school that I shouldn’t worry about what people thought of me in high school. He literally said, “You will probably be friends with Sara and Stacie the rest of your life, but I doubt you will talk to anyone else after high school.” Prophetic words by a wise man. {I wonder if he even remembers this conversation…}

Today, I feel that I am very content with life. I believe I am a confident wife and mommy who had a very personally successful career and now has the great opportunity to be at home with my children to help them evolve into strong, loving individuals. I have good mommy friends and neighbors with whom I have a lot of fun.

And yet, most of the time I was at my reunion, I felt so scared and alone. As though I didn’t belong. {There literally was a moment when a couple of people came in, said “hello” to those I was standing with, and walked right by me. Ouch!}

I was saddened that many of my high school friends were not there, but I did understand. After a couple of hours, I made a decision. I could stay and feel awkward or I could leave and have a nice dinner with my husband – someone with whom I always have fun and who genuinely cares for my heart and loves me for me.

Each and every person has a need to feel significance and belonging at every point in his/her life. This is a key point for parenting and managing. When you keep the members of your team or family filled with the sense of belonging and significance, they are more likely to be happy where they are.

When a person does not have that sense, they search for it; sometimes in not the best places. Or, they try to force it to the detriment of friendships and themselves.

While at dinner after the reunion, I kept analyzing how easily I fell back into high school insecurities. And for a moment I was happy to have those feelings {to the shock of my husband!}.

It was a great reminder as to how my daughters may one time feel as they get older. Alone. Scared. Unwanted. I will be able to understand their feelings and share my experience with them. They may not agree at the time, but hopefully it will help us find positive ways to fill this need.

Being brought back to the year 2000 for me was very eye-opening. I pray that this will allow me to be compassionate and understanding as my children enter these moments in their lives.

Take the moments that were hard and don’t forget, but rather learn from it for your children’s sake.

Have a great day!
Andrea-sig

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