October was like Kirsten Dunst in that one forgettable movie from awhile ago: a crazy, beautiful, and utterly hot mess (what, did you think I meant powdered and bewigged?) I ran for charity,  interviewed men in underpants , culture authors, and  fancypants designer types , climbed into caves, found new kids to babysit, went to award parties, dressed in drag, watched my adopted city elect a totally shocking mayor, prepared for holiday concert season with my choir, and tried not to go bonkers. Good times!

November, so far, is looking to be a real trip. Apparently I’m getting sent to Buenos Aires (that’s Argentina, folks) in 3 days. I know, right? Plus, at work I’ve been helping to coordinate the launch of a project for social entrepreneurs funded by the government of Spain. No room for boredom here.

Catchup aside, I’ve been thinking a lot about teen angst.

Yeah, we’re going there again. Sorry dudes. Quarterlife crisis?

A few weeks ago, I posted the following on my Facebook wall:

“Just discussed the fundamental difference between people who loved high school and people who hated it. I won’t tell you which category I fall under, but I will say that it can be a pretty polarizing distinction.”

The responses (all 25 of them) were fascinating. One was from one of my music teachers from back then, who wrote:

‎”…hm, Ducks, can I take a guess, having known you when?”

I hadn’t realized at the time that I was so transparent.

Another person from that time and place wrote:

“I loved it…does that somehow make me uncool? What is the fundamental difference between people who loved it and hated it?? I am interested to know what you came up with.”

What I came up with, or perhaps my defense, is that those who hated high school are mind-blowingly jealous of those who were able to enjoy it. Obviously, we (okay, jerky/judgey *I*) feel some smugness-slash-pity towards those who reached their peak during that period in their lives, but there are plenty of smart and well-adjusted folks I know who were able to follow fulfilling high school experiences with interesting and productive *real* lives. Those are the people who make me question the ingrained failure of my teenage self, who make me wonder why I devoted my high school experience to distracting myself from who I was instead of milking the opportunities that were limply lying there, waiting in earnest to be exploited.

I’m not alone in my wistful revisits to times of yuck. In the past few weeks, thousands of people have recounted their horrifying coming-of-age survival stories via Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign, targeted towards teenage victims of homophobic bullying (but you already knew that). Today on Twitter, #Tweetyour16yearoldself  has been trending without a beat, with people writing unblinkingly personal messages to their former selves for all of the interwebs to read. I wrote a few. My friends wrote a few. It was fascinating.

I’ll probably regret this admission in the morning, but I feel a little more human from all of this viral psychotherapy. Even if that means a little oversharing.


Advertisements