Years Fly By.

“Did you end up who you thought you would become?”
~Graham Colton, “1981”

Know what I realized this morning? Come November, it’ll be time for my ten-year high school reunion. It’ll be five years since the last one (we always have them over Thanksgiving weekend, since more people are back in town), and in just a few short weeks, it will have been an entire decade since I walked across the stage to accept my diploma.

That. Is. Insane.

No, seriously, it’s almost impossible for me to believe. It might sound strange, considering all that’s transpired since June of 2001, but sometimes it honestly feels like only yesterday that I was back at LMHS, studying for my classes, writing for the school paper, working on the steering committee for our big Involvement Day, and grumbling over gym class (least athletic person ever, right here). I can see those memories with picture-perfect vivacity, can feel them as though they’re actually happening. There was the speech I gave in front of an auditorium full of parents, school board members, and community leaders for the media symposium Mr. Pezza asked me to help coordinate. There was the time spent decorating the hallways for spirit week. There were the after-school trips with friends to Rita’s Water Ice. There was the studystudystudy! frenzy for AP tests and the pure jubilation when I got my scores. There was gift-wrapping for charity as part of Interact and National Honor Society, interviewing teachers as part of the newspaper staff, and going to Mexican dinners as part of the Spanish club. There were presentations, slideshows, papers, and the Larry King Live format talk show we did in American Studies. There was AP English, the most challenging and most rewarding course I’ve ever (college included) taken. There was my plethora of multi-colored pens, because taking notes is always fun when it’s in turquoise, pink, green, purple, and orange. There were great times, frustrating times (getting so frustrated with pre-calculus that I tossed the textbook across the floor comes to mind), and, most of all, memorable times.

Ten years ago, I knew exactly what and who I wanted to become. I was headed to college for journalism and my biggest dream was to work for our ABC affiliate. Several of the journalists there had inspired me so, and I was lucky enough to form bonds with three of them in particular. They were amazing mentors and sources of support, and when I did have the opportunity to both intern and work at the station … well, let’s just say that calling it a special experience would be a huge understatement. Living out my dreams, getting to work with these talented journalists who had lit such a spark in me, is something I will never forget and always treasure.

But dreams evolve. For a lot of people, they probably change entirely, but that hasn’t been the case for me. Journalism will always be a passion of mine. I’ll always watch the news, read the newspapers, and jump at chances to get involved. But creative writing, taking these stories that live in my head and heart and putting them to paper … there is nothing like it. It’s an invigoration, a joy, a love, and, for me, a way of living. It’s a spark that grew into an everlasting flame and a passion that only gets stronger. I’m about two-thirds of the way finished the first draft of my current manuscript, and I’m being honest when I say I love those characters, love going on their journeys, even more today than I did when I sat down to write Reflections of Me last August. Those characters have a piece of my heart. Writing has a piece of my soul.

Without a doubt, my high school self knew that. A career that involved writing was always the plan. But sometimes the person we thought we’d become follows a different path. It can be a difficult decision to make, to veer off and try something new, but if we embrace it, who knows where we’ll end up? Sometimes following that different path helps us blaze our own. It’s intimidating, uncertain, and sometimes scary, but no matter what the outcome, the reward comes in the journey. It sounds corny and cliche, but I honestly believe that. In many ways, I’m the same person I was back in high school, but in many others, I’m entirely different. I think that’s a good thing. After all, we can’t walk toward our future if we just keep standing still.

How about you? Have your aspirations stayed the same over the years, or have they changed? Who were you back in high school? Have you gone to your reunions? I enjoyed catching up with friends and classmates back in 2006 and am looking forward to doing the same this fall.


9 thoughts on “Years Fly By.

  1. This entry=my life. I’ve had a little change or two in the past few months… :]

    I love reading about all the things you did in high school. It reminds me of myself a little. I was easily one of the least athletic people there, and I always formed a complaining group with the other non-sporty people in my gym classes. And everyone at my high school practically lived at Rita’s!

    I’ve always known that I wanted to write, but now I’m going directly for that goal. In high school, I was determined to major in journalism because I thought that major would apply to a wider variety of things. Lately I’ve realized I don’t want a wide variety of things…I want ONE thing. :] And it took a huge detour to realize that I don’t need to be scared to say that out loud.

    It’s honestly amazing how a few years can completely change you. And thank you again for always being so supportive! <3

    • A little change or two that will result in amazing opportunities for you! :)

      It makes me happy that we’re kindred spirits in the not-a-fan-of-gym-class thing. Seriously, I used to dread it sometimes. Swimming would have been fun if not for the ice cold water and the less than kind teacher … and I did genuinely love the badminton championships … but beyond that, no thanks! Oh, and I think we need to schedule a Rita’s visit into our summer get together now, yes?

      Honestly, I cannot imagine you as anything but a writer. It’s just who you are and what you do, and I am SO, SO glad you’re going after it with open arms. That alone makes the detour worth it. You’re going to keep doing great things, I just know it. I’m looking forward to cheering you on!!

  2. Gah, it really is so crazy how time flies! I feel like high school was just yesterday but now I’m a year away from graduating college. Crazy.

    • Hi – and thanks for stopping by!

      I absolutely agree with you. It’s crazy how quickly time seems to fly. I remember thinking that with college, too. The whole experience felt like it zoomed by at the speed of light!

  3. My high school class officers are completely unorganized. Not only did we not have a 5 year reunion, but there has been zero talk of a 10 year reunion for this year. How hard is it to plan a get together? Sheesh.

    I’d love to write a book, but never found the idea to drive me to write. One day maybe. I decided senior year a career in chemistry would do more for me than writing (even though my chem teacher’s letter of recommendation spoke more about my writing than my chemistry skills, haha) and ended up getting a job in my field after enjoying my internships in college. I don’t know if this is my dream job, but I’m excelling and getting notice, so I guess that works for me. :)

    • Aww, I hope they get their act together in time to plan something for this year! Did you go to a big school? I think part of the reason our reunions are always a big deal is that the district is on the small side – there were only 130 people in my graduating class, so we were all pretty friendly over the years. We had somewhere around 85% attendance at the five year reunion!

      You know – and this might sound goofy – I’ve found that ideas come most easily when I’m not actively trying to think of any. Something about the non-pressurized atmosphere lends itself really well to creativity. And WOW to a career in chemistry! I am officially in awe of all the skills and talent it has to take to work in that field. Seriously, how cool! It sounds like your job is great. I hope you continue to enjoy it and that it turns into the stuff dreams are made of :)

      • Actually, we have a tiny class, too. I think it was close to 160 or so. Not much bigger than yours! I think part of the problem is most people didn’t move away (and a lot didn’t go to college) so they see each other all the time. I half want to take over and plan it myself, lol. The problem is we need three of the four officers to access the money (if there is any) to pay for it. Oh well.

  4. It’s fifteen years for me, and in many ways it does feel like yesterday – or at least last year. It’s hard to believe it’s been so long. As for aspirations, they’ve definitely changed, although if I would have paid more attention I would have seen the signs as early as middle school or high school and known my heart was with my writing instead of with the career I thought I wanted. But, hey, we can’t write deeply without experience, and making mistakes is one way to get experience.

    • Wait … you mean those early stories and their accompanying illustrations didn’t convince you of what career had your heart? ;) I love the way you look at it, though. Every experience has at least something to learn from, and that can end up playing such a pivotal role in our writing. You always have such an optimistic and insightful way of approaching things!!

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