I was looking through my high school yearbook the other day because I’m a nostalgic masochist and I noticed something beyond the fact that somebody should have introduced me to tweezers sooner. There’s this phrase written several dozen times: Never Change. Huh? Forgive me, but what a stupid thing to say. And yet it’s scribbled everywhere as if it were the school motto. I looked at the photos of me and all I could think was – thank GOD I did. Good grief. I was definitely not living my best life, visually speaking. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of things I admire and love about the girl I see in those pictures but I’m also very grateful for the things I’ve learned and the person I’ve become. Call it evolution, call it life, call it aging, call it progress. We have all changed. We must.
If my priorities were the same as they were in high school, I’d be brainstorming ways to watch Dawson’s Creek without my parents noticing, doodling some boy’s name all over my notebook for three hours a day and plotting my next sleepover on a three-way phone call in my closet where no one else could overhear my conversation. Totally fine for a fourteen year old but I can assure you my days are more constructive now. Now I group-text and own three adult coloring books. But seriously, I’ve come a long way since braces I’m happy to report. Which, by the way, when were removed I refused to smile for three weeks because I was convinced my teeth were too big.
Change is inevitable. I’m not talking your favorite brand of coffee or your route to work or the type of underwear you find comfortable. Think bigger. I’m talking about your passions, your goals, how you decide to spend your time and who you spend it with. It’s why we move, why hearts are broken, why we quit, why we have kids, why we breathe the way we do, why marriages end and why life is a never ending carnival. We love different, we feel different, we analyze different, we believe different. There will always be a fundamental foundation to who you are as a person. I’m not saying you wouldn’t recognize me or that I’ve done a 180 but just that I now have a much deeper sense of self and no longer contribute to the legacy of Abercrombie or Fitch.
We grow into ourselves. We make discoveries about how we like our eggs, what we won’t stand for and what we crave. I now know that trying to impress someone isn’t by seeing how much easy-cheese you can put in your mouth. For those of you who didn’t grow up middle class, that would be cheese from a can. Yes, that happened. I know what it means when someone doesn’t make time for you. I know how it feels when someone truly believes in you. I am much more familiar with who I am and the person I’m still striving to be. So many of my early years were spent trying to blend in with everyone else and I wish I would have spent more time worrying about my own opinions. Life is so much more enjoyable when you aren’t trying to appease the masses.
So to everyone who told me not to change, I send you my apologies. I did. I am no longer that girl. Not in a T-Swift ‘she’s dead’ type of way but in a that was seventeen years ago and I am proud to say I’ve moved on from my Clinique Happy days. I have some of the best memories a girl could ask for and made some lifelong friends along the way, but the thought of going back to high school or even being that person again does not interest me in the slightest. I’d rather smash my face into a campfire. I’ve been through a lot to get to today. Dare I say, I like the person I’ve become. So I hope you have changed. I hope you keep changing. I hope you can look at the last ten years and see how far you’ve come. I want you to cherish every accomplishment, big and small. I want you to strive to be better, bolder, stronger. If you haven’t changed, you haven’t lived…and if you aren’t doing that, you’re doing it wrong.
Also, stop writing dumb shit in people’s yearbooks. Between that and ‘have a great summer’, you can do better. That person you are writing to, your intellect, and that ink deserve better. Be better. Do yearbooks still exist? Is that a thing? Am I aging myself? Is it all online now? Man, I’m old. Cheers to scrunchies, the Kodak photo lab and Zimas! xx