It’s sad. I am sad for the students I might not see again and for all the things my own kids are missing out on and that I am missing with them. This was probably going to be the last Easter I could make my oldest son see the Easter bunny. Every year I try to see how many Easter bunnies we can visit. This year I was missing that, so I made it happen. I got our dog a bunny suit, bought a green screen to create some pretty creepy rabbit photos, took them to a restaurant to social distance with a bunny, had the candy store bunny visit our house, and sent their photo to a photographer to create a bunny masterpiece. I topped my all-time number of Easter Bunny photos and I no longer felt the sadness by making it a memorable holiday. My son was missing his classmates so I arranged a Zoom party for them. You too can plan a reunion in the near future or a parade or online party or change whatever it is that you are missing. Don’t wait for others to make things happen. You are the creator of your own story.
My next advice is to be kind and forgiving. Over the years, I have heard students negatively talk about others. Either they were the recipients of the evil or they dispersed the unkind words or behavior. When I was in high school I sent a mean note (no texting or Internet) to a boy as I was coaxed on with the wrong words by friends at the lunch table. For years I felt terrible and it would continue to enter my mind. One day he appeared on Facebook as a suggested friend. I wrote to him to apologize and while he didn’t remember or just forgave me, we are now good friends from states away. People change. They haven’t been exposed to this world of different people. They don’t know who they really are right now. In the future you will go to school with and work with others very unlike you and find that relationships will be made with people much like those you didn’t agree with in school. My Facebook page is filled with people who didn’t like me in high school, but now we have common struggles and beliefs and can share the similarities of parenting and working in the real world. The past is forgotten. We are now on the same page of our story.
Often students will begin to tell me their break up stories. They are shocked with my harsh and possibly insensitive answer that most people won’t marry the one they met in high school. Only one couple from my grade stayed together and one reunited later. In fact, less than 2% of marriages are with high school sweethearts. It definitely hurts and might consume your mind for years, but there are more people out there than the small world you live in right now. Your story does not end here.
My last advice is to travel. Don’t wait to find the perfect person or to have a family before you see the world in your own way. I thought I would never find the right person to marry and took off on solo adventures to see all the National Parks of the country even if I had to camp or sleep in my car. I am glad for those experiences as I would have never seen so many parts of the country if I had waited and there is no way my family will sleep in the car with me. Even if traveling is not your thing, don’t wait to explore the world in your own way to continue your story.
You are the author of your life. You are going to ignore the advice of your teachers and parents. You will make mistakes. There will be plot twists and detours. That’s okay. There is still time to write the next chapter of your life and change the ending.