Pomp and Mitigating Circumstance

My much-younger sister (my dad and stepmom's oldest) graduates from high school today. We aren't as close now, but since I was 14 when she was born and my sister and I were still spending every other weekend at my dad's house during that time, I remember quite a bit of her childhood. Since she couldn't pronounce my name, she called me "Kiki," as did my younger cousins when they were growing up. That nickname stuck for a very long time. I think she was still using it until about 5 years ago.

I graduated in 1994, 14 years ago. I didn't attend my 5-year reunion, nor my 10, because I still see the majority of my closest friends from high school. Two of my closest friends then are still my closest friends today. The photo was taken at my senior ball. (Please ignore my unfortunate selection of a white prom dress. It was knee-length. It had lace. Hence the reason I'm not showing you the bottom half.) The girl in the center has been my best friend since we met in first grade. The girl to her left and I have been friends since freshman year. And there are several others from high school whom I still count among my friends now.

The rest? I couldn't possibly care less about, although I do have a degree of curiosity about what became of some of them. In my sophomore year, I had a crush on a boy whose family raised peacocks in their outer-suburb home. I'd like to know what happened to him.

In my Catholic high school, I was an "activities" girl. I was co-editor of the school newspaper, and used my position to write about topics of importance to me, namely animal rights. I was a Peer Ministry leader, which meant I led senior retreats, organized community service programs, and acted like the bigshot I wasn't in front of the other kids. I was so good at this "job" that I received an award for it at graduation, along with the senior award for English, which apparently meant I wrote well (and not good).

On my high school graduation day, I had been accepted here. I entered as a second-semester freshman with a major in English and a minor in Pre-Law. I knew I wanted to become a lawyer until about mid-way through my first semester, when I realized that my love of literature and words outweighed my love of law (but not my love of a good debate). I ended up completing the minor anyway.

As a high school senior, I was certain I would change the world in a meaningful way. It wasn't that I was extraordinary. I was a good student, but I had to study hard to get my grades. It was that my mom always made me feel as if anything I wanted to accomplish was within the realm of possibility (Fulbright Scholar in Mathematics excepting).

Sitting where I am today, I'm not sure I accomplished what I thought I might as I was leaving school 14 years ago. Obviously, I'm not a lawyer (although I still have a small desire to someday go back to school and become one), and I'm not the world-renowned writer I thought I'd become once I left college. I have two college degrees, and yet most of the time I feel like my brain cells are dying a slow death from lack of intellectual engagement. I suppose this is what several hours a day of rolling Playdoh will do to you.

But I do have a pretty fantastic kid whom I've been blessed to be able to watch grow. To miss not a single one of her milestones. To watch her change from a helpless baby into an independent little being. And to have a chance to take on writing assignments that aren't the essays or novels I always thought I'd pen, but which do challenge me from time to time.

And I wonder how many of my former classmates are now exactly where they thought they would be when we all graduated. I would guess, not many.

Maybe the old adage is true after all:

It's not the destination; It's the journey.

Thanks so much for all the great name suggestions. There are some definite contenders in the list, and I'm sure I'll have another post on the name debate soon. Stay tuned!

8 Responses to “Pomp and Mitigating Circumstance”

  1. # Blogger Sugar&Ice

    I'd be willing to guess that almost none of your former classmates are doing what they thought they'd be doing with their lives. I'm about eleven years out myself, and I still don't know what I want to do with my life career-wise. I don't think I want to go back into teaching when I reenter the working world. All I really care about is that my family is happy, and I figure everything else will fall into place somehow.  

  2. # Blogger Pregnantly Plump

    What a thought provoking post! I'm definitely not where I thought I would be career-wise when I graduated high school or college. But I have to say that for the most part I'm pretty happy. Since having Little Elvis, the absolute craziest job ideas pop into my head. I think one would be kind of doable at the moment, but hopefully someday I'll get to try out my big idea.
    By the way, I did go to my 10 year reunion. Mainly to catch up. I graduated with about 400 people and about 60 people showed up (including spouses.) I don't think I'll make the effort for any others.  

  3. # Blogger Tracey

    The people that actually end up where they planned are pretty rare. Usually, life takes on a new meaning once you being to truly LIVE it. Priorities change. Interests change. It would make sense that your goals would change, too.

    I guess it became evident to me that everything could change at any moment. Living day to day is the only way ANY of us can live, even though some people don't acknowledge it.  

  4. # Blogger Shannon

    well I am kind of close... I wanted a house and to be a SAHM... the other part I am working on... making a living making art of whatever kind... today I just ordered business card... so I am taking a leap...

    But, for the most part... the only thing I wondered about with old high school peeps is how many of them had kids not too long after high school... you know the sluty popular girls that thought they were SOOO cool lol... yeah I know I'm evil but oh well lol...

    I think you should write a kid's book...  

  5. # Blogger Jesser

    This is really interesting. It's so lovely that you're still such good friends with people from high school. I'm still in contact with umm... like 4 people from high school and none of us are very close, which is kinda crappy sometimes. I won't go into it, but I think it's admirable that you are still friends with people from high school. I wonder where I thought I'd be now when I graduated ... I don't think I had any clear path in mind, honestly, just an aspiration to go away to college. I think I thought I'd figure it out there! In the end, you're happy and that's what matters the most, I think. :)  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    You're right.

    I think people who are all about the destination and then don't get to their destination can be sorrowful.  

  7. # Blogger sher

    You look so adorable in that dress! I didn't do what I wanted to do when I was young. I wanted to be a writer from an early age--and I became a lawyer instead. And I hated it!!!!!!  

  8. # Anonymous aande

    you are so adorable in that picture!

    i think that life's twists and turns are what make it so interesting. frustrating and scary and stressful, sometimes, but so exciting!!!  

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