Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Place To Be

Ten years ago, I graduated from high school.

Ten.  Years.

It probably seems like a long time to some people, and no time at all for others.  It seems like both to me.

I've been thinking a lot about the space, the distance (both literal and figurative), between who I was at 18 and who I am now, mostly because last week was my high school reunion and I missed it.  I didn't want to go for a number of reasons: I already see most of the people I really want to see from high school; a plane ticket back to Hawaii ain't cheap and, if I'm gonna spend the cash, I'd rather spend the time with my family; I honestly felt like I had better things to do last week (turns out I was right). 

Does that sound harsh?  I don't mean it to.  It really would have been amazing to get back on campus, that place that I literally lived for 7 years (I boarded there since the seventh grade...it did not take me that long to graduate from high school!  What am I, dumb?).  And it would have probably been equally great to see some of those people that I don't actively think about, but who were such a part of the canvas of my life when I was a teenager.  I'd like to know how they're doing, what they're up to, how they're making their mark on the world.

But I'm also a place in my life where I'm trying to figure out who I am right now, who I want to be, and putting myself into a situation where I'm surrounded not only by people who know me as a certain person, but also a place where I was a certain person, well, it just didn't seem like the thing to do. 

I think Emil Blunt said it best in The Jane Austen Book Club: High school is never over.

Don't get me wrong, I love Hawaii.  I love my family and my friends, my culture and heritage, my hometown, my history.  I love that I know the rhythms of that place, the sing-song of the voices, the trajectory of most stories and jokes.  I know Hawaii, you know?  That's comforting.

But I also know that it's not where I belong right now.  Maybe not ever.  It's not where I'm going to be the best version of me I can be.  I can't go there and surround myself with the kind of people I want to surround myself with (other than my family).  And I'm able to do that where I am now.  I'm able to be around friends who constantly push me to go for whatever it is I want, who inspire me to take that next step, who enjoy talking about that next step. I'm able to say, "Hey, next week I want to go on a road trip...how about Yellowstone?" and actually do that.  I have a freedom here I don't think I would have back home.  I'm able to be ambitious, to have that be realistic, and to know that I have the support I need to be successful too.

I know this all makes me sound a little selfish.  It does.  I'm aware.

But I'm okay with that.  Isn't it the time in my life when I should be selfish?

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