Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Responsibility - Or Lack Thereof - Re-Visiting High School

Every so often I have a spare moment to reflect, and recently I realized how different my responsibility level is now that I am an adult. I remember thinking I was the most responsible kid on the planet when I was in high school.  Now I just laugh.

I'm sure you have heard at least one person in your life talk about going back to high school to do it all over again.  I don't know if I could.  While it was not the most socially pleasant time in my life, I think the hardest part would be the lack of responsibility I would have.  I'm not sure once you have responsibility you can easily give it up again.

I think I would feel "off" if I didn't have kids to take care of, a home to maintain and bills to pay.  Much of my identity is wrapped up in what I am responsible for each day. I'm not sure I would be comfortable thinking about only myself and not those I need to care for. (Once again, not a comment a teenager would make!)

One thing I would enjoy about redoing high school is the perspective I now have. For some reason who shares my locker is not the drama it once was. I also do not care who sits with whom at lunch, or who is taking whom to the dance.  In the long run it really doesn't matter.

Another thing that would be better is the homework.  I remember thinking it was so hard, and so much effort.  I really wanted to do other things.  If homework was my only responsibility other than cleaning up my room I think I would now give it a lot more attention.  Looking back, I was surrounded by many amazing teachers who had knowledge I was too naive to take advantage of.

During all of these musings I realized the things I would enjoy now about high school all stem from my current understanding of responsibility.  Responsibility gives perspective, and perspective changes priorities.  While the road to more responsibility can be tough, and perspective can be a hard won creation, I find the priorities I have now show how far I have come in life.

In a few years, I am sure my priorities will have changed again and I will see more personal growth.

They say you can't go back, and I think they may be right.  It is impossible to unlearn what you know.  It is impossible to undo the growth you have experienced.  It is also impossible to un-feel the responsibility you have earned.  And who wants to go back anyway?  I have already climbed that hill.  Now it is time to climb the mountain ahead.

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