There are so many things I wish I could forget and even more I wish I didn’t.
As my 20th high school reunion looms, there are words, experiences, and embarrassments I wish I could forget. If I could just forget them, I would be free to worry about what I am going to wear, who is going to watch my kids, or how much older I look than I did in 1997.
However, the teenage angst I imposed on myself and the nature of teenagers made high school tough. So tough, in fact, that I purposefully kept distance from most everything I related to those four hallowed years. Those ugly emotions and insecurities held me captive for two decades. Sometimes I still have butterflies in my stomach, when I run into people from high school.
In the planning of our class reunion, Amanda (class president) hunted me down on Facebook and became my “friend.” I have always admired Amanda’s calm demeanor and terrific sense of humor, so I was like, “Cool. Amanda and I are friends again.” After I became Amanda’s “friend,” Amber, Angie, and Jennifer found me and we became friends again. Then I found Casey and Tamara, and we became “friends” again. I think you can see where this is going. My friend list has had a healthy growth spurt since the inception of our class reunion Facebook page. Many of those that I have found or who have found me, reunited me with positive memories that I had forgotten. (Those are part of the whole, “There are so many things I wish I could forget and even more I wish I didn’t. “) Regret has played a small role in finding those I had moved away from, but I remind myself that the adventures of young adulthood made me who I am today.
The best part about my friend list’s growth spurt is forgetting what made me unhappy. Memories about friendships formed, funny classroom interludes, or successful exchanges have pushed out some of those times when I didn’t feel successful, funny, or accepted. Memories of kind words or compliments said to me in high school have forced out the put downs or teasing that others sent in my direction. (They probably didn’t even know their words were hurtful. Stupid teenagers.) I am finding freedom in the forgetting of why high school hurt.
So as I tell you that I let things bother me for 20 years, I also hope to inspire a movement within you. Forget the things that hold you back. Insecurity, fear, embarrassment, anger, insult, and grief are all gateways to freedom when we forget to let them control us. There is freedom in forgetfulness.
I encourage you to direct your intents toward positive motivators and let the rest be part of the forgotten. Apply energy to the events and opportunities that move you forward and allow you to grow. Feel happy, confident, and hopeful in who you are today and love who you have and will become as you do your best and forget the rest.
By: Melanie A. Peters.
P.S. I may have stolen that last line from “Paw Patrol.”
P.P.S. What should I wear to my 20 year high school reunion?