The first part of the fifth question for the Q&A segment of this blog is: “What was the best thing about your youth?”
I find this question a bit difficult to answer, because “youth” is kind of a broad term, and I’m not sure what period of life the question intends to span. I’m just going to go with my life before I graduated high school, I think, so in that case, I kind of have to just go with the generic, expected answer here: Having (and spending time with) friends.
I can remember every friend and every crush I’ve ever had, from the first birthday party I can remember having until, obviously, now…and let me tell you, that’s a lot of different types of people. In elementary school, I was one of the ‘popular girls’, but in my school that didn’t mean some sort of elite status or ‘mean girl’ thing, like it usually does on TV, it just meant that everyone in the class liked me and my friends. My classmates tended to pick us first for things and come to us for help with school-work or social problems (we were also peer mediators), and that was, I guess, the difference.
It was kind of weird for me, because I was always very shy, and having that kind of attention was something I never really got used to, but I still enjoyed it. It was nice knowing that I could talk to, play with or walk home with anyone in my class, and get along with them. I was very lucky in that sense.
At the end of the day, though, I still had a core group of three ‘best friends’ that I spent most of my time at and outside school with, and I can remember having so much fun with them. When I think back to that time in my life, I can think of nothing I enjoyed more than being around them, no matter what we were doing.
Despite that, in junior high I went into a fairly deep depression, and became quite antisocial. At that point, I separated from my friends and became kind of a loner, even though I still wanted to have friends…I just didn’t have the energy to, and I’d become so anxious and awkward that I didn’t know how to socialize anymore. The funny thing is, I found out in my last year of junior high that regardless of how I felt about myself, everyone still liked me, including the new group of ‘popular people’, one of which was my long-term crush. I happened to connect with his best friend over a shared love of Zelda, and we became very close friends, and she is someone I still think of warmly to this day. I still think she’d be fun to spend time with, but I have no idea where she is now.
In high school, I kind of had two separate groups of friends; the people I met in junior high, who I didn’t really become friends with until high school, but didn’t spend much time with even then…and the people I met in grade 11. The ‘goths’. These were the best friends I EVER had, and they made life worth living every day, despite my continuing depression. We went on ‘magical adventures’, we worked together at a movie theatre, we did silly, ridiculous things, and never stopped laughing…they were just absolutely wonderful. High school was actually my time to get bullied/teased, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it could have, because I had my friends, and no one could compare to them.
So yeah, when I look back at my ‘youth’, nothing in my life stands out as being as important, wonderful or life changing as my friends. They made me who I am, they developed my interests and sense of humour, and they taught me to embrace silliness and weirdness with open arms. I cannot remember laughing as much since, as I did when I was with them. I miss those days; I don’t really spend time with my friends much anymore. I think it’s time to bring that back, and perhaps seek out some new friends as well.
Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, feel free to post your own in the comments, and tune in tomorrow for the second part of this ‘question’: “What was the worst (thing about your youth)?”