The road to maturity is a rocky one for most.During childhood, most children are oblivious to social awkwardness or embarrassing faux pas. However, by the time our teenage years roll around, a new sort of awareness has dawned on pretty much everyone except for the Amish. They leave school after eighth grade because it doesn’t really take a higher education to run the family farm. They may sing Amazing Grace, but I don’t think mucking out a horse stall ranks highly on anyone’s bucket list.
For the rest of us, high school is the dawn of a new age. Girls have boobs and boys can think of practically nothing else. It can be extremely difficult to concentrate on geometry when the girl in the third row decided to wear that particular shirt. You know the one… her favorite shirt from middle school that has gotten a little too tight, and has been washed a few too many times, rendering the fabric quite thin, almost see through. The boys are usually too busy calculating their moves in the hallway to calculate the square root of an inverse polyhedron.
My own unique high school experience was peppered with awkward situations that still influence my thinking at times. I have a successful career in the military, a beautiful wife, and healthy, happy kids. But there are still times when that same butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling sneaks up on me like a ninja. For example, I tend to be socially awkward at parties, which is one reason why I can’t actually remember the last time I went to one outside of an officially organized event.
At one point, I was cool, but apparently my time has come and gone. My kids certainly do not think I am cool. My music is too weird, my clothes are out of fashion, and my car is just a boring old Honda. You can’t really pull up to the curb to pick up your kids gracefully in a 10-year-old car. But you know what? I could care less.
The great thing about passing the 40-year-hurdle is that you really don’t give a crap about the things that used to bother you. It is a wonderfully liberating thing to know that my family might not think I am the coolest, but they accept me for who I am, and love me unconditionally. I may not have the elegance of Maya Angelou or the charisma of Cam Newton, gut you know what, I have everything I need right here at home, and I am grateful.