Every day I drive by my alma mater, El Toro High School, on my way to work.
Every day I look at the kids crossing the street and walking to class.
And every day I feel a little bit sorry for them. I instantly see how insecure they are. It’s in every unsure step they take, every hesitant glance they make at someone else when they gather the courage to peer up from the ground, hoping to find acceptance in someone else’s eyes. They clutch their binders close to their chests like shields. They try to project a sense of popularity as they busily text away. They arm themselves with things that might win someone’s approval, or even just a marginal amount of attention…fancy shoes, a football jersey, a group of friends, an expensive gadget.
They don’t know how great and talented and beautiful they are. No one tells them. Or they just don’t believe it. They want to fit in with everyone, but they want to be themselves, too. And they don’t even know what that means…“being yourself.” It's tough being a high schooler.
And then I think, “Wow, that doesn’t completely change as you get older.”
Does high school ever end? We are plagued by insecurities, and they manifest in our lives in so many different ways—pride, overachieving, humor at our or other people’s expense, materialism, self-loathing, always living life on the defense. High school insecurities rarely end after four years of social awkwardness and a diploma. The only difference is that we hide them in things other than letterman jackets.
Every day I drive by El Toro High School on my way to work.
And I think, “Man, I’m glad I’m not in high school anymore.”
But do we ever really graduate from all that?