I have a pretty killer case of laryngitis currently, so I can only communicate through text. I feel like Louis in The Trumpet of the Swan, I should get my chalkboard. Today is worse than yesterday, but I’m pretty sure most medical professionals wouldn’t recommend going to a party – where talking over music and drinking all day is par for the course (my course, at least) – as a health regimen. But I had to go, the party was celebrating my niece’s graduation from high school. I can’t believe my niece graduated from high school, because that means I’m old. I remember getting the call that she was born, I was already in my early teens.
She’s the daughter of my step-brother, a step-brother who was already grown when my dad married his mother, so we were never close. But I’ve always been close with my niece, probably because I’ve been around since she was born. She looked up to me from an early age, even when I was too young to grasp the gravity of being a role model.
She’s been through a lot in her young life. Her family situation has been less than stable, she’s shuffled around from house to house, seen many family arrangements. Yet she’s prevailed and become a great young adult with goals of going to college to become a teacher. Goals that, as a high school graduate eleven years ago, I hadn’t yet figured out (and some would argue that I still haven’t figured out).
High school sucks, I’ve said it before, so it’s amazing that some kids actually have their futures kind of mapped out. Being a teenager is like playing a life-sized game of dodgeball where every hormone, emotion, idea, urge, and desire is being thrown at you at once. It’s no wonder most kids are so confused and angry. Who ever says those are the best years of your life is a pretty sad person, or was a jock who was never able to achieve the amount of stardom in his life outside of the gymnasium walls. I do look back on those years with a tinge of fondness, only because I was able to finagle my way out of most of my high school career so I could live my life. Most aren’t so lucky. Who constantly wants to feel like an outcast? Who constantly wants to feel stupid or under insane amounts of pressure to perform up to the standards of their parents? Who wants to be treated like a child when you’re screaming to be taken seriously as an impending adult?
The only things high school provided me was a place to socialize and nap. I didn’t know it then, but I was conserving all my energy for college.
My niece didn’t take the same road, mainly because she is a totally different person, and I congratulate her for that. She’s smart and determined to make a difference, and I’m so excited to continue to watch her grow.
A party is a great way to kick off the next stage in her life… But then again I’m always a fan of finding any reason to party, laryngitis or not.