23 March 2005

High School Flashback

A few days ago at the law school I ran into someone I used to know in high school. We exchanged pleasantries, much the same way we did in the halls of RCHS, and I couldn't help but wonder: how would high school have been different if I was back then more like I am now?

I can't pretend I was popular in high school; I could romanticize the whole experience (which I've been prone to do in the past), but that would just be a joke. Like anything else, high school had really high points and really low points, but the whole experience would be best described by the word "blah." The truth is, at least once my junior year hit, everything just turned neutral. People knew me and liked me well enough, but I didn't have friends or enemies. I didn't have to worry constantly about being picked on, but I didn't get invites to parties either. If I went to a reunion tomorrow, people would know me, probably even remember my name (our class only had 160 people), but when it came time to tell stories and reminisce, I would definitely be left out.

So now I'm left wondering: why was I so like that? Why did I continue to allow that state of affairs to continue even into college? And I think after this long, I finally know the answer. It was easy. In every other aspect of my life, I give it my all, especially academics. When I tried piano, I went far in that. Same thing with art, writing, architecture, etc. I'm naturally curious, and I have a pretty strong ambition. The more challenging, the better. Except when it comes to my social life.

Taking the easy way out means you don't get looked at like you're odd, you don't get rejected, and you don't have to deal with all the emotional baggage that comes with getting close to people. But that's the problem: you don't get close to people. Which, obviously, sucks. When I talked to that girl, I couldn't help but feel deja vu. The conversation was so familiar to so many I've had. Totally neutral, totally superficial. In law school, talking about summer jobs and classes is the equivalent of dicussing the weather or asking someone in a singles bar "what's your sign?" Safe, nice, easy.

And the weird thing is, I have many more friends and a much more substantial social life now than ever before. But even with them, I find myself taking the easy way out. Keep it light, keep it airy, keep it convenient. I can't really say that I have a strong connection with any of them, despite the fact that they seem like really great people. I wouldn't spend time with them if they weren't, obviously.

So with spring coming, and all the symbolism I've been hearing at Church lately about change, maybe that would be a good thing to change. Maybe going out on a limb and avoiding playing it safe would be a good philosophy to extend to my whole life instead of just pieces of it.

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