Saturday, March 28, 2009

Staring my youth in the face....

I was on a plane earlier this week. Joining me on the plane was a high school marching band. If you don't know by now, yes, I was in the marching band in high school. And in college, as a matter of fact.

So, here I am on a plane surrounded by lots and lots of young, wide-eyed band nerds. Watching them, I was immediately taken back to my high school band nerd days.

My first high school mascot was the Cougars, colors were red and white. These kids on the plane were also the Cougars, colors were red and white. Purely coincidence, as these kids were from a different high school. But, seeing all the band jackets with the red and white and the cougar . . . made it almost a surreal experience.

It was an unexpected trip down memory lane, watching these kids. I saw the "cool" band nerds keeping their distance from some of the other "less cool" band nerds. The flutes huddled together. Drummers were in the back of the plane, air-drumming to their ipods. I even saw the couple of kids who clearly didn't fit in anywhere, even among fellow band nerds.

I was on this plane, dressed in a suit, traveling to NYC for a business meeting with a client. I make this trip often. These kids were dressed in the skinny jean weirdness of your typical teens these days, excited for a big trip to NYC, maybe their first time to the Big Apple.

But, unbeknown to them, we were one and the same in my head on this plane.

I was once one of them . . . but, would any of them be me one day? In a suit, 15 years removed from a band trip with all your friends (and enemies - oh, high school drama . . .)? Headed to the same place (NYC) but in two entirely different places.

When I was that high school band nerd, I don't think I ever would have guessed I'd one day be all suited up, as a grown-up, doing grown-up things . . . business meetings, business travel, responsibilities . . . I do these things now, but I don't feel like a grown-up.

Sometimes I still feel like a kid just playing grown-up because that's what I'm supposed to do now. With years comes responsibility, even if my heart and soul haven't quite caught up to my years. I feel out of place in my suits, leading client meetings, creating reports (while sitting on a plane, no less), having conversations that don't include words like "rad," "totally," or "dude."

Ok, I still say "dude" as much as possible. Just not to clients.

It was weird to see myself 15 years ago through the eyes of my grown-up self right now. Am I where I'm supposed to be? Am I who I thought I'd be back when I had the whole world ahead of me? No harm, no fouls . . . yet. Choices toward a future still to be made. Grown-up decisions a distant thought. Fun of the moment and teenage drama still at hand.

I don't know. What? Yeah. I don't know if I had an idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, and now that I'm more grown-up than not grown-up, I don't know if this is what I had in mind back in the day.

Weirder than that, it's weird to think that I'm ok wherever this is that I am, for the most part, for now. For not having much of an idea of where I wanted to be or what I wanted to make of myself, and for having an interesting road on the way to getting here, I'm blessed to have ended up someplace that's working out okay for me . . . for now.

I thought about all that's happened since high school, since the so-called innocence of my youth. Things that have led me to where I am today, to my seat on that plane earlier this week. Life for me has taken some crazy, unexpected turns. It's hard not to think "what if," had forks in the road along the way had forked the other way.

Yeah, a lot of thinking for an early morning plane ride . . .

I'm glad I'm not still in those high school band nerd days. It was great at the time (don't judge), but I'm glad it's in the past and part of who I am today, rather than where I still am today.

Plus, I'm not done yet. So, there's that.

C.T.

1 comment:

macdadyj said...

brilliant monologue