How Far I’ve Come

30 Jun

I’ve been spending a bit of time lately with the me I used to be.

Freshman year of high school, my English teacher, Mr. Montgomery, assigned us a class project to begin keeping journals.

I was so into it that when the official assignment was over, I kept on writing for myself.

I checked in almost daily, beginning each entry with “Hey Mont,” which was what I always said when I walked into class or saw him in the hall.

I wrote in my journal all through high school (and over the summers), and when I left for college in the fall of 1992, I left behind eight notebooks that pretty much documented my life over those four years. As you might imagine, it’s something I’m really proud of.

The collection (plus a couple of failed restarts) is one of my most significant possessions.

About three weeks ago, I decided to bring up my journals from the basement and take a trip down memory lane — just for fun.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done this, and I was instantly struck by how lame, fickle, and impressionable I was.

Oh, and did I say lame?

For example, multiple times I wrote about how uncool I thought people who drank alcohol were. “I haven’t smoked, drank alcohol or done drugs yet and I don’t ever plan to,” I wrote during the fall of sophomore year.

Other times I would bitch about something — a person, a class, whatever — and then an entry or two later, I had completely changed my opinion. You’d think I truly hated going to summer camp if all you read were the entries from the first half of summer 1989; by August, camp was the best place ever (no kidding), somewhere I wrote about for months after.

“It was horrifying.”

In addition, I used some pretty awful language — and I don’t just mean grammar and spelling (I must have misspelled “honnestly” about a bjillion times, for example).

C-words, f-words, racial and ethnic slurs, derogatory terms … I couldn’t believe this was me who had written such things.

It was horrifying.

The crap I believed

I was also embarrassed to see just how little game I had with the ladies back in the day, and just how gullible I was when people said and did things to me.

I mean, really … the BS I bought that people told me. Apparently, I just missed making the tri-state softball team at camp (something that really did ease the pain of not making the cut at the time). Apparently, some of my classmates really would have dated me if they didn’t have boyfriends.

There were people I thought were my friends but who clearly weren’t. And so on.

It’s ridiculous the crap I believed back then.

But it wasn’t all bad.

It’s fun to remember how much I enjoyed calling up WPLJ and either winning contests or introducing songs or whatever. I did that a lot.

I was totally into the first Batman movie (even though I didn’t love it when I actually saw it).

As noted, I had really fond memories of camp and the people in my group (despite saying a lot of mean things about them during the summer).

There were so many women I had crushes on that went unrequited.

And I truly hated New Kids on the Block. Too funny.

The point is, reading my own words more than 20 years later is both scary and totally amusing.

I had forgotten so much of what I said and did, and reliving it (in small doses) is quite an experience.

Still, how great is it that I have this document of my high school years? When I’m older, I can share these with my kids and say, “This is what I was like.” It’s a time capsule that photos could never capture, and it’s truly invaluable to me.

I’m only in December of sophomore year right now (just after I appeared in the school production of Ten Little Indians) and I’m looking forward with mixed emotions to continuing.

One thing I know for sure: I’m not the boy I used to be, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

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6 Responses to “How Far I’ve Come”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I’d Like to Thank You for the Year « Martin's Musings - March 12, 2012

    […] you to the me I used to be, who I became reacquainted with this year when I finally finished re-reading my 8+ journals from high school. You reminded me who I was, showed me who I still am, and encouraged me to make changes I said I […]

  2. Come Back When You’re Ready « Martin's Musings - September 21, 2012

    […] I’m looking forward to reconnecting with folks I haven’t seen or been in touch with in 20 years. I’m looking forward to remembering good times. I’m looking forward to seeing how people have changed. And most importantly, I’m looking forward to showing how I’ve changed, and how the me I am now is not the me I used to be. […]

  3. The More Things Change, Do They Also Stay the Same? « Martin's Musings - November 14, 2012

    […] remind myself of what I may have in store, this week I got out the journals I kept during high school and skimmed through the ones from senior […]

  4. The 2015 Happiness Project | Martin's Musings - January 5, 2015

    […] make sure I’m doing everything on my 2015 to-do list, or, in a way, an abbreviated version of the journals I used to keep when I was in high school. And please, check back here often to see what’s making me smile all year […]

  5. 10 Thoughts About Blogging After 10 Years of Being a Blogger | Martin's Musings - September 1, 2015

    […] blog started as a way for me to get back into the kind of writing I did when I was in high school, when I kept a journal, and to write about the kinds of things my job at the time didn’t allow me to do. In those early […]

  6. The 2017 Happiness Project | Martin's Musings - January 3, 2017

    […] which I document one thing every day that makes me smile. (Kind of like an abbreviated version of the journals I used to keep when I was in high school.) I did this in 2015, and it proved quite effective: Even on days I was frustrated, sad, angry, or […]

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