Monday, June 12, 2006

Turning thirty

When you're a teen, thirty sounds pretty old. Three decades is a long time. But get this. I just returned from my thirty-year high school reunion. Yep. Graduated in 1976.

If you're still in high school, I want to let you in on a little secret. Some of the people you see in the halls--the quiet, shy types who perhaps don't have many friends, don't seem to have the best fashion sense, don't go to the cool parties or hang with the cool kids--some of those people will be the most interesting, accomplished folks thirty years from now. Perhaps they will have traveled all over the world as a journalist, or played trumpet in a famous jazz band, or built a wildly successful business like Microsoft from the ground up. (No, Bill Gates wasn't in my graduating class.)

There will also be some people who have followed very unusual, even bizarre paths. Like the girl I've known since elementary school who is now a belly dancer. Never would have predicted that one in a million years.

So, why am I telling you this? Because as teens we can get pretty short sighted and exclusive in our views of friendship. Cliques form. Labels abound. And we shut out the nerdy guy with thick glasses, never realizing he's so funny he'll be a celebrity comedian someday. Or we ignore the geeky kid on the debate team who is going to be President of the USA someday.

If you're still in high school I have a challenge for you. When classes start back up in the fall, think less about how you look and who you're going to impress, and branch out a little. Meet new people. Maybe become a columnist for your school paper and interview some lesser known students about their interests and hobbies and dreams.

God made everyone uniquely interesting, and He placed some of them in your world. Make it a goal to discover God's handiwork in the people all around you. Maybe then when you attend your reunion thirty years from now, you won't be surprised.


PalmTreeChick said...

That is so true. I haven't had any reunions yet, my 10th should be this year, if we have on, but what you said is so true. The the "geeks and losers" that turn out to be someone, and the "popular ones" that turn out to be "nothing." (not, "nothing," but I didn't know how to phrase it)

Jeanne Damoff said...

Hi, palmtreechick. I understand what you mean. Everyone matters, but some people do "nothing" with their lives. I think it has something to do with developing a big-picture view of life. It's easy as a teen to have a pretty narrow focus, looking ahead only as far as the next weekend or big event. "The future" seems far away and not connected to the present.

The people who accomplish the most in life are usually the ones who realize the choices they make today will affect their lives tomorrow and next year and the next ten years (or thirty!)

Thanks for reading and commenting. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post, Jeanne. My son is the editor of his school newspaper. I went with him for a teaching session at a local college. We learned to look for the quiet people. They often have the most amazing stories. Everybody wants to write about the popular kids. Sometimes the ones who go unnoticed have the most beautiful stories to tell. ♥ Thanks for your post.


Julie Garmon said...

Shoot. I just came through as being anonymous. Didn't mean to be. I'm Julie Garmon!