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Awakening To Change

Class reunions are a reminder of the aging process.

There’s nothing like waking up one morning and realizing it’s been 30 years since you were in high school to make you feel ancient.

This past weekend, I was reminded of how much things have changed when I went to the mall. After a while I sat down on a bench between two other tired shoppers to people watch. I saw kids dressed in black, draped in chains, and wearing black nail polish. Men and women sported tattoos of snakes, dragons, and anchors. Boys who looked like their pants could fall off any moment. Girls with shorts too short and tops too low. Men with muscle shirts, but no hint of muscle, and jewelry dangling from pierced eyebrows, lips, ears, and navels.

Being somewhat of a history buff, I pretended the man and woman I was sitting between were Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. What would they think of America today, I wondered? I couldn’t imagine, because I’m not sure how I feel about it either. On the one hand, I am thankful for the freedom of self-expression. On the other hand, there are portions of other people’s anatomy I would just as soon they didn’t expose.

What I remember most about my high school years is the torrent of emotions that swirled around inside me like an F5 tornado. I was taller than 99 percent of my class and felt like a freak. Most of my girlfriends were cheerleaders (I wasn’t) and they had boyfriends (I didn’t). At high school dances I was the one left sitting on the bleachers hoping someone would ask me to dance.

If I could, would I turn back the hands of time? No way. I wouldn’t be 16 again for all the gold in Fort Knox, but it sure would be nice to look 16 again. On the other hand, if we went backward in time, 9/11 would be nothing more than two numbers and kids wouldn’t be growing up in homes where adults are cooking meth out in the garage.

I guess some things are better, some things are worse, and some things are just different. Makes me wonder what the next 30 years will bring. Doesn’t it you?

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