By: Maggie Manfredi, Guest Blogger
When I moved from my hometown of seven years to a new school in a new state I was as close to miserable as a privileged teenager with no responsibilities can be. In my original school I had a friend in every corner, whether it was on sports teams or classmates or neighbors. I left that town thinking I knew who I was and who I wanted to be. Since that day I’ve changed more times than I can count or remember. On the first day at my new school I had to experience one of the most vulnerable scenarios for a young person.
I walked up to a group of people to ask to sit at their table for lunch, when previously I was the girl (I hate to say it) turning people away from my own table.
People were accepting and I was lucky, but that didn’t mean I didn’t take every chance I could to bike home and watch Gilmore Girls at lunch instead of forcing social interaction. For the first time in my life I felt totally free, and of course, at times, totally lonely. But I wasn’t afraid ever again to walk into pep rallies alone; I got better grades and read books for pleasure. The year went on and I met some pretty great people and I joined sports teams and a few clubs.
The year came to an end and you’ll never guess…I had to pack up and do it all over again. But this time it didn’t hurt as bad. Probably because I knew I could do it and probably because I had begun to accept change for what it is: a consistent road block that forces you to make choices and choose paths that shape your life from then on out, increasing your opportunities, and limiting the urge to stay still. I was becoming a fan of change and the way it was shaping my life.
I’m now in my 20’s and I still look back on those three different high schools in three different states and it continues to aide me in becoming who I am. I am adaptable and social but secretly fighting off the inevitable anxiety that creeps in adjacent to the unknown. I’m not perfect and me at 22 is the same me at 18 just with more miles behind me. I have taken certain roads and stumbled around roadblocks that have given me a deeper understanding of my own soul. I am no better and certainly no deeper than someone who has lived in the same city their entire life. It is simply my perspective that I think is worth sharing. I have learned from new places and new people, and have learned a lot from my own mistakes. Specifically I’ve taken away three things from those three states, three schools and the entire road that has brought me up to this exact point:
Relationships change with distance, time, ethics, money, status, power and sex. Work hard not to burn a bridge unless that “friend” purposefully tries to hurt you. It is never too late to reach out to an old friend and say hi, no matter how many years it has been.
The only way for change to be positive is if you see it as a positive change. If you are having trouble keeping things at a glass half full state of optimism find a way to fill up your own glass. Affirmations are helpful, also really good music.
If someone asks to sit at your table for lunch, never ever say no. If there is no room at your lunch table, give up your seat.
Maggie is a nearly with-it working girl and proud owner of a B.A. in Communication. She spends her free time on the phone with one of her three crazy sisters or reviewing some form of entertainment news. Her hobbies do not include competitive dog grooming, CrossFit or puzzles (she is lousy at puzzles).