[DISCLAIMER: Yes, this is longer than my normal posts, and will require you to read.]
It's funny to me how song lyrics have one meaning and grow into another as I get older. If you don't know much about my musical tastes, I've been a longtime John Mayer fan, and his songs have been particularly influential on my high school and college years. I remember one of the last assemblies in high school, I believe it was a rehearsal for graduation, "No Such Thing" was playing on repeat as we walked into the gym. I can't put my finger on why that made an impression--only to say that I was hoping I'd look back with John Mayer's irreverent but knowing eyes one day and see how I had moved beyond the paradigms I had set for myself and the world.
Fast forward to this project. Earlier in the year, I had asked one of my high school friends, Bruce, to give me some New Thing ideas, one of which was to run through the halls of my high school. I was pretty sure there would be no reason for me to ever go back to my high school, but I wrote it down anyway.
I really had no interest in ever walking those halls again. I've got some sort of hang-up or resentment or towards high school, and I felt as though returning would classify me as "stuck in the past" or as someone who hasn't moved on with her life.
I spent most of my high school days slammed with schoolwork from being in the math, science and technology magnet program and strict ballet practice. That, and I never really found a way to fit in. Not that I was an outcast or anything, it's just that I didn't have very many friends, the friends I did have were equally as busy and stressed as I was. Needless to say I didn't have very much fun.
Come graduation, I remember having this really jaded, sinking, blah feeling about the whole thing...four years of hard work and no fun for what? A seal on my diploma? And it turned out that I went to UGA where I could have likely gotten in for half the work and stress?
All of these things came back to me when my dad suggested I come with him to help judge the Senior Project presentations at Wheeler. He'd asked me many times before to do this, but I finally obliged, in the spirit of doing New Things and crossing Bruce's suggestion off of my list.
Just before going though, I had to pop in John Mayer's "No Such Thing" to gather some inspiration. So much of my personality and outlook on life has changed since high school, and so much of it is epitomized in that song. There's no use in breaking it down line by line (I'm already writing a novel here, anyway) but with a little life experience under my belt, I know JUST what he's talking of, and it makes me smile.
I have been so happy since graduating, and I'm trying every day to "rise above the lie that there's a real world," I still think "the best of me is hiding up my sleeves," and I see that there's "something better living outside the lines..."
And running through the halls of my high school certainly isn't the most exciting New Thing I've ever done, but it's a lot of personal reckoning for my soul. I wouldn't have found out so much about myself had I not been through those four years, and I've certainly changed in ways that I'm very proud of.
I'll likely look back on these years in nostalgic reflection too, and what more will I have learned then?? Who knows, but I bet a John Mayer song will be one step ahead of me. :)