Yeah, I don’t miss it at all. Mine was big—my graduating class was 1,168—and it was split between grades, meaning I went to a different school for grades 9 and 10 than I did for grades 11 and 12. I had friends, I made okay grades, I did some extracurriculars and went to prom and all that jazz—but by the time college application season hit, I was practically foaming-at-the-mouth ready to go somewhere completely new, where I didn’t know a single person and could finally just be who I wanted to be.
And that’s exactly what I did.
The reason high school is on my mind tonight, when I normally try to block it out completely, is that I went to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower with a couple of friends. I’ve read that book at least four times and really love it, and the movie was, surprisingly, almost as good as the book—achingly poignant, beautifully filmed, surprisingly funny, and with a fantastic soundtrack (the credit of which, I nerdily noticed, goes to Alexandra Patsavas of The OC and Gossip Girl fame). While the story goes to some dark places, it had the odd effect of making me nostalgic for a high school experience I didn’t actually have. The main character, Charlie, goes from being a complete outcast to falling in with seemingly the only high school kids in existence who are absolutely sure of themselves, confident in their weirdness and completely un-shy about showing it. What’s more, all these kids have carved out their own little space in the social hierarchy of high school despite, perhaps, pretending to operate completely outside of it. What I wouldn’t have given to have had that faith in and knowledge of myself at that age. Hell, even now I struggle with it. But to be accepted completely and utterly for who you are even when the cracks begin to show—that is a wonderful thing.
Part of me (most of me) sees the movie as overly idealistic, a glossed-over and softly lit look back at a simpler time (nervous breakdowns and abuse aside). But part of me just clings to the feeling it evokes: that feeling that sometimes in life there are these perfect moments, these snapshots in time that come along unexpectedly but that change, even in subtle ways, how you see the world. And yes, someday they’ll just be stories you tell your kids—but remembering those moments is what reminds you why life is worth living.