Lately I have been feeling nostalgic, which is no surprise…they call me “Classic” for a reason, folks.  My younger brother and only sibling is quickly approaching the end of his senior year of High School and I am standing on the sidelines, watching objectively.  Through watching and even talking to him or my father, it’s been conjuring up old feelings about the last days of my High School, and also that whole process and transition of going to college.

I can safely say age 12 – 22 is an absolutely insane ten year time period full of emotions, feelings, critical events and a boat load of highs and lows in one’s life.  I was certainly no exception to the rule.  I am an encyclopedia for my own life, able to recall conversations, emotions and events from my past with a quick thought.  I am a big believer in remembering my past…as I grow older, I’ve learned to appreciate it.  A few blogs ago I spoke on remembering the times with my Ex-girlfriend, and how those were precious times because I was happy.  Why should I block those memories?  Because we aren’t together?  Even on the subject of these old High School memories I’ve been having…I really didn’t enjoy that time of my life much, but I can’t help but think on them and reflect.

They say you “live and learn,” which is unfortunately true.  High School was mostly missed opportunities, awkward situations and dreams shattered.  If I knew then what I know today I’d have been oh so much happier.  I suppose all of us can say that and time travel is not an option…yet.  But in reality, I also view life as pretty cruel in some respects.  I learn life’s hard lessons in the first quarter of my life and try to pass my knowledge down to my kids…only to have them shrug off anything I say because I’d be a figure they can’t connect with because “you don’t know what it feels like to go through this stuff NOW.”  How many of us ignored our parents at that time of life because we could not even fathom them having to go through OUR problems!?

And here I am at age 24…High school six years behind me and fatherhood a few years away as well.  I am in that ridiculous phase of life that no one talks about…the one where I can relate to that kid who shoved his father’s advice aside, but also can now start to see where his father was coming from.  The “invincible” stage is over.

I know this could be a gross generalization…but am I wrong?  Will everything I just learned during those hormonally fueled emotional times be wasted when I go to pass the knowledge down one day?  Sure, I learned a bunch of shit.  I missed my prom and looking back feel like an idiot.  I didn’t go out for as many clubs or sports because I felt drained due to my home life.  I didn’t take as many chances as some people did and lost out.  But I can’t go back and hit myself with some knowledge.  Instead I carry what I call “Permanent Life Regrets.”  I don’t sit there and dwell on these regrets, but they are there.  You can’t block them or get over them because you are over them.  They just kinda sit in your brain and take up space, occasionally popping up while watching game shows or sunsets.

This is all coming up because, to reiterate, I see my brother making the same choices I did.  I missed out on several things because I did not want get rejected or take unnecessary chances.  Instead I’d sit in class, look at a girl I had a crush on every thirty seconds and hoped she would get a psychic message that I was interested…which never happened.  And even if you hate High School, you only go through it once.  There are no re-dos.  I guess the saying “you live through your children” or however it goes just came into effect with me looking back on my life through my brother.

I also notice the conversations I have with my Dad go farther than him saying something and me screaming at him.  Now we can relate, talk civilly and I learn a lot because I am listening to his advice instead of shunning it.  Growing up is a scary thing.

Despite some miserable times, I have to say I miss that age range of 12-22 because every day was an adventure.  God, how many songs do I STILL listen to because they are attached to some unforgettable memory.  A criticism I often hear is that I live too far in the past…so far I can’t see the good things going on presently or in my future.  That of course, is not true.  I am extremely aware of the present, and can certainly see into the future.  I guess I have always had a problem with the set up of an average life:

For 20 or so years we live, learn and go through an insane amount of highs and lows that become the foundation for life as we know it.  We go on through the education levels, stopping whenever we choose to, then find a job and work for 40 years.  When we are close to being decrepit we retire, try to do a list of things before we die…then die.  I’m sorry that is just not fulfilling.  And I get that I am leaving out having families, traveling, seeing your kids grow up, being in love, etc.  I get that.  One thing I am not is an ignorant generalist…anything I write or leave out is for a reason.  And maybe some of this is coming because I AM 24 and not 70 looking back on my entire life.  Remember, I’m not just a blogger who thinks he knows everything…I’m a 24 year old kid with an imagination and a view point that is trying to look back and forward at the same time.

If there is anything I’d want taken out of this, it’s more for the people that are in that 12-22 age range now.  Don’t be afraid to take some risks, explore feelings and above all…enjoy life.  I am sure having children, getting married, etc. is plenty fulfilling and do not want to demean that stage of life.  But…right now I have been working after college for close to two years.  I work for the weekend, wasting over ten hours every day during the week at work going in and out of day dreams in-between phone calls and emails.  After fighting traffic, I go home and do mindless things because my brain is fried from work.  Then I sleep.  Repeat this five days a week for the next forty years…and that is a good chunk of my future.  Obviously I am ignoring the impact I have at work helping children and adults that are MR/DD…but for the sake of this blog I am being a bit selfish and talking about my life’s impact on ME.

All of a sudden I watch my brother going through High School…and I realize there is no point in looking back on my own days, cursing under my breath.  I appreciate the fun times I had at Hooters with the guys, the movie trips and the way I felt when the hot girl winked at me in the hallway.  That is why I say I can never truly delete the regret of not going to the prom or not going out for baseball…because those are just additional times I’d be able to enjoy then and look back on now.  They don’t hurt me like a true regret is supposed to…they just are emptiness that could have been filled.  Take it from me kiddies…I’m not your 45 year old Dad…I’m a 24 year old guy who is only a few years removed from what you are going through now.  The only measure of life in my eyes has always been happiness. 

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