Permanently Stuck in High School

Hi. My name’s Bryce, and I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my life. Things I’m not proud of. Jokes I’ve made that were moronic. Observations I blurted out that I never should have. Most of these things are actions I made decades ago. I do believe I’m getting better at actively avoiding stupidity–I’d like to think that, at least. (Then again, maybe some parts of stupidity are like a fine wine–only really appreciable after they’ve been allowed to sit and mellow and fester for a good while.)

But in any case, there are still times when I’ll be sitting working on a project or watching a movie or doing who-kn0ws-what, when out of nowhere, a thought will pop into my head: “Can you believe you did _________?” And the __________ is almost always some stupid thing I did fifteen years ago or more. Almost all of it is stuff from high school (although there are a few things from college and some things from my pre-high school days).

High school lasted all of four years. Three years for me, actually. My high school was just 10th-12th. I don’t beat myself up mentally about things that I did when I was 27 or something. I hardly evenย rememberย what I did when I was 27. But high school? It’s like the whole thing is branded into my mind. Who I was friends with. What parties I went to. The extracurricular stuff I did.

Maybe that’s why I ended up writing YA instead of adult. Or is everyone else like this?

Sadder yet, I still have a tendency to stereotype strangers based on high school standards. I’ll see someone on the street and in five seconds or less, I have them into one of the main roles in The Breakfast Club. Thankfully, that first impression is thrown out the window once I get to know a person. You don’t have to be worried about which character I think you are after I’ve already talked to you a couple of times. (Although seriously, which one were you? I think it’s pretty obvious I was Anthony Michael Hall all the way.)

To anyone who I did stupid things to or said stupid things about in high school, could I just take a moment to say I’m really sorry? I was 15, 16, or 17 years old. I didn’t have anything figured out yet, although I really thought I did. (And for those people who I’ve said and done stupid things to since? Sorry as well. But you didn’t quite make the cut for the “Haunt Bryce for Decades” time period of my developing psyche.”)

But maybe I have reason to hope. While all the mistakes I made in high school are still crystal clear in my mind, the things other people did to me? Harsh words or mean jokes? Most of those have faded with time. If I sit and think hard, I can still come up with them, but they’ve lost their sting. I don’t really care what people did to me then. It’s what I did to others that makes me feel bad. So maybe the people I said stupid things to don’t remember I said them, and it’s just a private matter at this point. (If I said stupid things to you, please don’t tell me you remember them! Forgive and forget, right?)

Of course, because I write YA, I regularly dive into my memories of high school, so this might be another reason why it’s stuck in my head so much. And not all of this is bad. I wrote an entire zombie book based in my high school, and so now when I revisit the place, I don’t just have memories of what I did there. I have memories of where the zombie horde attacked the protagonist, and how much carnage was left over from the battle. (The zombie book, alas, is still not ready for prime time. Maybe I’ll revise it one of these days . . . But zombies? A little too Molly Ringwald now, aren’t they?)

Anyway–I put the question out to you. Is high school still important and relevant to your life? Do the stupid things you did then still bug you at random times today, or do I just need counseling? Do share. ๐Ÿ™‚

8 thoughts on “Permanently Stuck in High School”

  1. Interesting. I’m definitely still bothered by stupid things I’ve done in the past (including during high school), but I wouldn’t say that high school sticks out for me more than any other time period.

  2. Honestly, I hardly ever think about high school. I barely remember the names of teachers or other students; if I look through my yearbooks I can recall more stuff, but on a day-to-day basis it almost never crosses my mind. I know that part of it is the fact that my family moved across the country before my senior year of high school, so the first three years were in my ‘real’ school, but I have that much more distance since I stopped going there after my junior year. I spent my senior year in a new school where many other students had known each other since elementary, so I didn’t make many friends or do much there either. My parents have since moved again and I’ve only ever been back to either place where I did high school a few times. In my mind, my mission is really the point where my major memories begin–even the few years of college before that time are somewhat vague. I think a lot of it has to do with my level of psychological maturity; I struggled in high school for a lot of reasons and it wasn’t a positive time for me. Since returning from my mission I have been a lot more emotionally mature and my memories are more detailed and positive.

    And yes, like many people I probably spend too much time thinking about and being bothered by stupid things I did in the past. I think it’s a very human thing to do.

  3. Dan–One of my favorite scenes. How could I forget not including that here? I’m SO STUPID!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Jessie–Interesting. I remember a lot of what I did on my mission, of course. But the things I did there . . . nothing really haunts me. I remember good times and good things, but I’ve got a dearth of stupidity. I’m sure it’s all heavily repressed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Katya–So it’s sounding like being troubled by tiny idiotic things we’ve done is a shared human experience. My fixation on high school is the freakish part. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also, I use smileys too much. I’M SO STUPID!!!

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