You know you’re getting older when you find out your high school classmates are getting hitched. It’s quite surreal, even though I am not particularly close to my friends who got married. But since we spent a good deal of our adolescent (and even pre-adolescent) lives together, huge milestones like weddings elicit heart-warming reactions firmly rooted on the tight-knit bond we’ve developed without us even knowing. Like brothers and sisters, that’s how they put it.
And it’s not just the romantic events which remind us how much we’ve grown up – and perhaps even how little we’ve changed. Our childhood fears of losing loved ones, especially our parents, similarly reinforce the linear qualities of time. There is no turning back the clock, as my classmates and I would realize when we find ourselves reuniting at the wake of a teacher, a father, or a mother. Forging new paths forward, the gains and losses we could only imagine as teenagers are now becoming a reality.
It’s nice to remember the people we were back then in contrast to the adult mould we’re slowly trying to fit into these days. Back in high school, our stresses mainly concerned our academic performance, or a plight of acne. Now, we’re worrying about utilities, our parents’ health, deeper romantic relationships, professional growth, and financial security. I’d like to think we’re still the same, and underneath the skin and skeleton of our newfound adult responsibilities, we’re still kids needing guidance in trying to figure out what’s best for us and for the people we love.
I’m quite proud of my high school classmates and where they are now: what they’ve accomplished, the choices they’ve taken, and the people they’ve turned out to be. Of course, we essentially owe a huge deal to our teachers and instructors during the most impressionable years of our lives. In their noble profession of teaching – which comes along with it tremendous sacrifices – my classmates and I have been altered. Maybe some of us won’t be so keen it admitting such precarious truths. But we have been, and it’s for the good.
While we celebrate our successes, share the happiness in new lives born, and mourn for those we’ve lost to time, it’s always reassuring take a back seat and look at the bigger picture. We’re becoming people now, and our humanity is becoming more obvious in both our victories and failures. As adolescents, we had a good dose of fun and experimentation, exploring the pleasures and pains that would only come to full fruition once we’ve settled into the permanent yet changing state of growing up. As adults, we’re learning best through experiences beyond the lesson plan or course curriculum, improvising solutions along the way, adjusting to the nuances of life, perhaps using a lesson or two we remember from high school to face the challenges of life with proud determination and confidence.