Past, Meet your Future…

Me at about my son's current age.

When you see your child going to school, do you think back to your own school days?  My son is in preschool.  When I was a kid, I don’t remember any of the kids I knew going to preschool.  In fact, I don’t know that “preschool” existed.  All the moms in my neighborhood stayed at home as far as I knew with my friends.  We’d all go ring each other’s doorbells to “play.”

I do, sometimes, wonder what school will be like for my son.  Preschool is not something my son and I share.  It’s very sweet and cute for me to see him go through it.  But, I wonder what all the rest of school will be like.  I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.  I have a hard enough time just keeping up with the present.  But sometimes, I’ll think back and remember my own school days.

From time to time, I will come across people from the days of high school whose names I recall but who I never really knew, on Facebook.  It’s a bit strange because we were people who passed the same halls, lockers, buildings, and classes but never spoke in class or hung out after school.  They were strangers, gathering many of the same memories, in the same time, at the same place.  Those memories that weren’t the same, were similar.

When I “friend” these people or they “friend” me, we open up our worlds to each other.  It becomes amazing how we can bond over a shared memory, like the same silly English teacher, cruising down the same downtown streets, or eating at the same greasy food joints, known only to locals.  We come together over the small stuff and discover where we’ve gone, what we’ve become, and our lives are richer for opening the doors to our pasts.  People we barely knew then become special “Internet” friends and supporters.  We cheer each other on, encourage each other and provide solace in times of need.  We share jokes and laughs with people all over the world.  It’s an amazingly good thing to feel those close ties with people so far away, make new friends, reunite with people from long ago, meet your relatives on the other side of the world.

But, a long time ago, before anyone knew there was an internet, before personal computers and cell phones, there was a young girl.  She was melancholy.  She was bubbly.  Mostly, she was confused.  With brown hair and eyes, she was fit and olive skinned and desperately wanted to fit in and have lots of friends.  Sadly, she lacked confidence and social graces, much less a social network.

She had a Scandanavian/American father and a Korean mother.  Their home was different ethnically from the vast majority of her nearly entire caucasian school population.  Definitely different from “regular” TV families.  She grew afraid to talk much because of teasing and bullying which had been part of her childhood that stuck rather solidly to her in high school.

She had difficulty fitting in with any particular group of friends.  Some were too confident and athletic for her.  They were better than her.

Some were too weird and had interests in things she had no interest in.

Some were too scary and cut classes and did drugs.

This young girl flitted between and flirted among friends in all of these groups, never really feeling comfortable with anyone but clearly seeing the division in all.

If I could go back in time and take her hand, knowing what I know now, I would instill in her a sense of confidence, one that comes with knowledge that things would change, that great things would come in time.   I would tell her to study harder, especially in geometry and trigonometry.  I would tell her to speak up and join the debate club.  I would tell her to push her boundaries by confronting all her fears.

I would make sure she understood the importance of  always telling the truth, especially to herself no matter how much it hurt.  I would tell her to help those who did not seem to have friends and not to worry about what others saw or thought.

I would tell her to stop thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence because it isn’t.  She has it really good and she should learn to appreciate what she has more than she does.  I would tell her never to let go of her dreams because, she is right.  They will come true – just not by magic- but by hard work and no fear.

I would tell her to invest in oil and a company called Apple.

I’d tell her that far into her future she will make a difference in the world and she will have the most beautiful son imaginable.  I would let her know that her love for him will be beyond any understanding she could now have.

I wonder if she would listen to me.  If she knew I was from the future, she might.  But then maybe I wouldn’t be who I am today.  What would you say to your high school self?

[This post was inspired by a weekly writing prompt from Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop – each week you pick from a list of prompts, post a link on Thursday – and check out what other writers have written.  You can check Mama Kat’s website by clicking the red box on the sidebar of my blog or click here.  

This week’s prompt was:  “If you had to go back to high school, how would you do it differently?”]

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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33 Responses to Past, Meet your Future…

  1. Wow. Little Karen and little me might have been great friends as kids. We had a lot of the same things going on! I also did not really identify with one specific group of kids from my school and had parents who were a bit different from my peers (my parents were a bit older when they had children — in their mid-30’s — which was almost unheard of *back then*).

    If I could go back, the one thing I would tell a younger me is — like you — to have confidence. But, the younger me probably wouldn’t listen. After all, I have a on a good source that she was also VERY stubborn 😉

    • solodialogue says:

      Why do I not have difficulty believing “someone” was stubborn? 😉 (the same was said about me – plus “ornery”!! -Can you believe it? Wait! Don’t answer that!) Mid-30’s as old? Lol!

  2. pegbur7 says:

    What lovely sentiments. I think you are very insightful. Enjoyed it very much!

    Stopping by from Mama Kat’s.

  3. Kristina says:

    Stopping by from Mama Kat’s.
    I love how you reminisce in this post and also the perspective of what you would like to tell your younger self!
    Love it!

  4. Jenners says:

    Super cute photo! And I wish I could go back and guide my younger self and give her the benefit of my “wisdom” that comes with getting older and realizing that all the petty little dramas and worries were just that … petty and little. And I love the stock tips!!!

    Visiting from Mama Kats.

  5. Amanda says:

    Beautiful post. As a product of two different cultures, I could relate to it.

    I also wrote about the subject but honestly I wouldn’t change a thing. All those experiences molded me into the mother that was able to help her autistic son when nobody else could or would.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you for stopping in Amanda! Always great to meet another mom in my shoes. (and of course, you are right that our experiences make us who we are today, able to help our very special boys). 🙂

  6. I’ve thought many times about the things I would do differently but then I think about how it took being the girl I was and making the mistakes I made to bring me to the woman I am today.

    Very well written. Kept my attention to the end!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you for stopping in Diane! I think we all reminsce on our past and wonder what if… but even the bad experiences shape us into the people we are today. (I’m glad I was able to keep you reading- that is a very kind thing to say!)

  7. Grace says:

    My first thought when I read the prompt “If you had to go back to high school, how would you do it differently?” was that I WOULDN’T go back to high school, I would throw myself off a bridge instead. Then I decided I would just throat punch one particular boy. The satisfaction of that might make it worth the aggravation involved with time travel. And getting molested by a Sci-Fi TSA agent.

    And when I see my son going to school, I DO think back to my own school days. Every time the principal scolds me for my morning drop-off method. (It’s happened twice so far this year. I’m shooting for the hat trick.)

  8. Cute picture and good advice!

    If you do figure out a way to go back in time, please share the bit about Apple and oil investments with a girl named Christy. You’ll spot her easily, since she’s about two feet taller than everyone else in her kindergarten class.

  9. Jessica says:

    If I could go back in time I would definitely tell my younger self to invest in Apple.

  10. What a beautiful post. I especially love the part about what you would tell your childhood self. Words of wisdom to live by and very inspiring for any young girl that doesn’t feel that she fits in. I am so happy your dreams came true through hard work. You will cherish them all the more!

    • solodialogue says:

      Thank you Anne! I mean, I’m not saying I’d be brave enough to vlog a song or anything… 😉 (That was great by the way- Blogger has been down for a while today…)

  11. I hope she would listen. You have just wonderful things to share with her.

  12. Lynn says:

    I would have told myself to never ever get on a school bus, because that is where everything bad happens. And, yes, I have carried that with me and will NEVER let Audrey ride on one. If I did go back and get on the bus, I would tell my high school self to get right up in the boys faces because they were just scared little pubescents that would have just shit their pants had I done so!

  13. Teresa says:

    The only thing I would do, if I could, is to tell my young self that life holds endless possibilities and those worms in high school will get their due. Unfortunately, even knowing what I know, my daughter still went through heartache caused by “friends” who turned out not to be so. The pain of my own high school years came rushing back but all I could do was remind my daughter that she was better than those kids and she had goals and things to accomplish. In order to be empathetic we must experience these things for ourselves.

    • solodialogue says:

      High school could be brutal and in the moment, depressing. But you are right, Teresa, about the endless possibilities. You have a beautiful daughter and both you are who you are because of your experiences. We all must experience to be empathetic is true – even when it hurts.

  14. Meg says:

    Love love love this…and the pic is darling. All I can say is that I am glad you were in that high school, and that I was there too so I can know you now. I would have loved to have known you better then…but now is also grand.

  15. eof737 says:

    Oh, you look so adorable… I love your post and I chose the one on friendship. You shared beautifully.
    Kudos! 🙂
    E

  16. So true!! Its crazy how intimidating highschool can be. I miss those days because everything was so care free, yet so stressful at the same time. Its funny how things happen, and all for a reason.

    • solodialogue says:

      It is a weird dichotomy to have no real responsibilities and yet feel so stressed and pressured at the same time. I completely agree! Thanks for stopping in! 🙂

  17. Tam says:

    Ugh. I wouldn’t even want to go back to high school just to talk to my old self. That time in my life was way too fraught with pain. I guess I if I had to I’d say cryptic stuff like “the bear hug guy will end up being your best friend, engage him now”, “mom’s talking to your neurologist behind your back”, “those people are too wrapped up in themselves to ever hear you, don’t bother” and “meds are good, experiments are bad, push for the meds now”.

    • solodialogue says:

      Thinking back on high school makes us all realize how far we’ve come, don’t you think? And sometimes it’s best to leave it alone, although I really like the bear hug guy. He sounds great! 🙂

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