“Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time…”
– Green Day-
Eldest graduates high school in three weeks. Its seems like it has been a lifetime and I suppose it has – hers. But the lifetime I’m actually referring to is mine. As as today is Mother’s Day, I’m a little more introspective than usual.
It’s been 24 years since my high school graduation and when Youngest graduates next year, it will be 25. A quarter of a century. For the life of me, I have no idea where most of it went.
My eldest and I had a short discussion last night as she was upset because she didn’t go to her senior prom. She worked at a job she hates and she closed – which meant she didn’t get off work and home til after midnight. She mentioned to me who was crowned “Prom King.” I suppose when I was 18 that meant something to someone, but in the overall scheme of things, I’m sure my 18 year old self didn’t really give a shit. My 42 year old self feels the same. Prom King and Queen is nothing more than a popularity contest and the real world doesn’t really operate that way. My darlings will find that out soon enough.
A few other thoughts on prom: For the love of God, it’s expensive. Prom dresses run hundreds to thousands of dollars. Tuxedo rentals are freakishly expensive too. It’s a racket. When I was a kid, I fell in love with this pretty, BIG poofy white prom dress. It was a size 16 and I had it cut down to between an 8 and a 10. I always figured I would wear it again as a wedding dress, but by the time I got married, that really didn’t happen. The dress was expensive back in the 80’s and I have to wonder if I should have just saved some money and wore jeans and a t-shirt and been more comfortable all night. At least my red Converse tennis shoes saved my feet the burden of wearing heels all night. Best shoe decision ever made.
Some of the songs played at my prom:
INXS – Need You Tonight
Poison – Every Rose Has It’s Thorn
Breathe – Hands to Heaven
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Terrence Trent D’Arby – Wishing Well
Patrick Swayze – She’s Like the Wind
Information Society – What’s on Your Mind (Pure Energy)
Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
Whitney Houston – So Emotional
Bon Jovi – Bad Medicine
I do remember many of the popular girls and guys in high school; however, and there are a few of them I still think kindly on to this day because they were naturally charismatic and never looked down their noses at others because they weren’t just like them. I think it’s only appropriate that I tell them now I appreciate them. I’m also glad I learned the lesson young to take care to look past appearances and get to know the meat of a person before judging them.
My bestie and I became friends in high school. In looking back, I still think it’s funny that a tall, leggy blonde would be friends with a tomboy like me. But then again, there’s that appearance thing I was talking about earlier. Obviously she didn’t care either. We just hit it off and we’ve been friends for almost 30 years now. I can’t imagine a day when I couldn’t pick up the phone and say, “Dude… you would not believe….”
In high school, we made a pact to never fight over boys All girlfriends should have that agreement. It would save a lot of problems down the road. I had a crush on Shaun. She ended up married to him. Today… that’s probably the best thing that could have happened to either of us. (God bless ya buddy.)
My other friends in high school, I still keep in touch with now after losing touch for so many years. Facebook is a wonderful thing sometimes. (Now sounding like I’m 95 years old….) Back in the day…. when we all went off to college or whatever, we didn’t have cell phones, we had to write letters to keep up with folks and because life is what it is, we got busy and it all fell by the wayside. I know Facebook and Twitter and whatever other media isn’t the greatest for heart to hearts, but it is a good way to say, “Hey, I’m thinking about you.” I kinda dig that.
I still have the same argument I had in high school with my math teachers. I’m never going to need advanced math, why do I need to know it? It took me 20+ years to get my associates degree because of college algebra, which I had to take something like 5 different times – go back and take all the remedial math classes first etc. Without YouTube videos with many different instructors explaining the concepts, I never would have passed. And why? Why do I need a 2 year degree? A bachelors? A Masters? Doctorate? I’m still trying to figure that out.
We push our children toward a higher education (which has an ever growing cost) to have a plan for their lives? Is this correct? Or is it a fall back plan? Or what is it? I’m sure at one time I was certain, but I can honestly say that I’m really not. What does the piece of paper gain you unless you want to BE something SPECIFIC such as a veterinarian, a lawyer, a doctor, etc…? For all the kids who don’t know, I say take the basics so you don’t have to remember them 20 years later when you might need a piece of paper with your name on it and let the rest falls where it falls.
We always ask our children what they want to be when they grow up. I’m 42 and I can’t answer that question. Sure, I have always wanted to be two things: a cop and a writer. I have done many different things along the way on my path of growing up, but at the heart of things, I have successfully attempted both and learned that I’m much more suited to one than the other, but never for heart and lack of trying. I just should have done one of them much, much sooner. (Something I hope my girls never do: delay the inevitable.)
Jobs: There is going to come a point with my children that I have to give them some advice as to their future and I can only tell them to try and figure out what they have passion for. Then to go for what they want with all of their heart and determination. IF they can do that, they will succeed; because even if they fail by mortal men’s standards, there is still success in the fact they gave it their all.
Marriage: Marriage is a give and take. Marry your best friend. If your best friend EVER becomes violent or hits you, get the “F” out and never look back. You are too precious to be someone’s whipping post.
Cooking: Learn to cook a few meals – even if they are very simple.
Cleaning: Borax and Baking Soda are wonders. Do NOT mix bleach and ammonia. If for some reason you do… RUN… do not walk to the nearest exit – poisonous gasses are created when you do that.
Call 911 for emergency help. If you really don’t think it’s that bad, then at least call Poison Control for advice on handling the after-effects of exposure and cleaning up the chemicals. The number for Poison Control is:1-800-222-1222
Vehicles: When buying a new vehicle – remember, the value of the vehicle drops BIGTIME as soon as you drive it off the lot. If possible. buy a really nice used vehicle – have it checked out by a good mechanic before you buy it and pay cash if possible.
Credit Cards: There is no reason to ever have one. This is the single biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. Getting a credit card – especially before the age of 21 is EXTREMELY STUPID AND UNWISE. There is never a reason to have one if you 1) have a debit card and 2) pay cash for what you need. “Lines of Credit” are a myth perpetuated by the finance community so they will make money off of loaning you money. Avoid it if possible.
Debt: DO NOT GO INTO DEBT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough.
Ok…. I think this is about it for now. I just wanted to get a few things off my chest and I feel a bit better now. Hopefully at some point in time, this will make much more sense to my two darling daughters.
Ciao for now…