So here’s the funny thing about looking for old photos, sometimes you find things you really don’t mean to. On a recent hour-long quest to locate pictures of me as a cheerleader to show my daughter I found all kinds of things. Sure I found some old pictures – some good, some bad – a lot with some really bad ’80’s mall hair. But I finally found the cheerleading pictures. I found them in my scrapbook I kept from my senior year in high school. Pictures aside I found so much more. I found just about everything I had ever written – well at least in my senior year.
I was the school paper editor and had saved all the editorials I had written. Reading them was somewhat embarrassing. I was so full of myself! Then I found the “Lessons in Life” essays that the Senior Honors English classes had to write as their final assignment. It was fun to look and see what great lessons my classmates and I had amassed in our 18 years of life. There were pages filled with advice like don’t procrastinate, be who you are, treat others as you want to be treated, work together and my personal favorite (in the great words of Cowboy Bob) “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” My lesson in life was about how friendships are important in your life, which was a common theme in the essays, but the one thing I liked about mine was that apologies are easy to give but forgiveness is hard to obtain.
I don’t know how long I sat reading the essays which were carefully printed on dot matrix printers (wow – the amount of technology we have gained in 20 years!). The funny thing was that all these wonderful lessons that we had written like they were new concepts to us were all taught to us in 1st and 2nd grade, we just didn’t understand them fully until we were 18. I know. I have Teagan’s 2nd grade “Values” list to refer to: Truth, Respect for Others, Honesty, Responsibility, Kindness…. So we are all taught these values at age 8, by 18 we have experienced enough to figure out which one is most important to us and maybe mastered a few and by 38 we may have only mastered a few more.
My life lesson at age 38? The most important things in life that happen to you aren’t usually something you wish for or plan but the ones the ones that smack you in the face at 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday when you aren’t paying attention or expecting it.
What else did I find in my scrapbook? Newspaper clippings, graduation cards, a pressed flower from homecoming… all the things my son will start collecting in 3 years. I also found a horribly written poem about homecoming that I really hope I didn’t turn in for any type of grade. Several notes from teachers saying I wasn’t working up to my potential – I guess Dawson get’s it honestly. And my favorite – also a Senior Honors English project – a look at my life 10 years from now. We were to write about what we thought our life would be like at our 10 year high school reunion.
I would say it was laughable but it’s got a scary parallel going on. I thought I would drive a convertible – I do have a moon roof on my Blazer but I gave up the Sunbird convertible at age 21. I explained my husband’s absence was due to him having season tickets to the Cubs – although my husband did not attend my 20 year reunion it was not due to baseball it was because he was working. And my husband wouldn’t have season tickets to the Cubs, the Reds maybe but definitely not the Cubs (but it is totally believable that he would ditch a date with me for a good baseball game). I lived in Chicago – yeah this one isn’t even close but I included it anyway. I showed everyone pictures of my daughter “January” at her 1 year birthday party – at my 10 year reunion I had my son, Dawson, who was two. But as you can see even back then I couldn’t pick normal names for kids! I had a picture of us in front of our two-story house with our dogs and cats – We used to have dogs now we have only have one and we have a 1 story on a basement. (Seriously a two-story house in Chicago? I wonder what I planned on my Cub loving husband to do for a living – probably a brain surgeon – hey that would have come in handy.) I told everyone about my occupation as a morning radio show host (I guess I was planning on using that Telecommunications degree) – well these days I do talk on the radio usually 2-3 times a week but you need an 800 mHz police and fire radio to hear me and I’m usually saying things like “copy a theft report” and not “next up Eminem and Rhianna and I love the way you lie.”