Health Magazine

High School Does Not Deserve a Pedestal.

By Melissa Boles @_mboles

I read a post this morning about a Homecoming Queen who was, and is, struggling with depression.  She was crowned “the most popular girl in all of high school,” but that didn’t make her any happier than she was.  It didn’t make her more sad, either.  It just was. [Read Allison Pohle's piece here.]

When I was in high school, I heard “this is the time of your life, enjoy it!” a lot.  Far more than I ever wanted to hear those words.  People wanted me to enjoy wandering the open air hallways of my high school (open air hallways in the Pacific Northwest was maybe not the greatest decision ever made, by the way) with people who were prettier or more popular than I was and who insisted on treating me like the weird girl they took pity on.  I wasn’t popular, or pretty (by their standards).  I ran for Senior Class Council and lost, though I might have won if my friends who were younger had been allowed to vote for me.  By the time I reached senior year I was so bored and felt so constantly like curling up in a ball and dying that I stopped going to class and completely stopped caring.

There is a story in the midst of all of this about a female teacher who flipped things upside down in the February of my senior year.  The story is one I’ve told before, and one that is increasingly harder to tell as she died in 2012.  There were good moments in high school, I remember them.  But to be honest, I can count them on two hands.

I was not a lover of high school.  I didn’t have a huge group of friends, or go to a lot of parties.  I went to two dances my entire high school career, both with friends who I asked, and the one time I asked a boy that I liked, he told me he’d been planning on not going to the dance and took me out to dinner instead.

For a long time, I thought my life was going to be terrible forever because high school sucked so hard.  I constantly wondered, if high school is the time of my life, what the hell is the rest of this going to be like?

Depression came quick and under the radar in my sophomore year, and stuck around.  It’s a battle.  A life-long one.  And I honestly believe that the way high school seemed to be placed on a pedestal had a significant impact on my depression.

I guess I tell you all of this because I want you to know that no one can tell you when the time of your life is going to be.  Maybe it’s high school, or maybe it’s college, or (more likely), it’s after you turn 25 and you’re finally getting your life together and you realize that happiness isn’t a thing you have to try for anymore.

If you love (or loved) high school, that’s great.  I actually, truly, am happy for you.  But if you didn’t, just know that’s okay.  You can love another time of your life.  Things always get better than high school, as long as you don’t hold those 4 years on a pedestal.  Take them with a dash of salt and a whole hunk of pepper and move forward.  The time of your life is exactly when you want it to be.

If it’s not now, it’s coming.

31 days blog

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