Soundtrack Saturday :: Good Riddance

When you graduated from high school, were you flooded with that feeling of overwhelming love and nostalgia coupled with the terrifying reality of impending freedom?

And did you deal with said feelings by starting a way-too-serious-way-too-fast summer fling with a boy you had known your whole life but had never thought about dating before the panic of leaving the nest set in?

And did said relationship burn white-hot for two whole months and end promptly the moment you moved your mini-fridge into your dorm room?

Come on… I can’t be the only one.

Most of the high schools around here are gearing up for, or just coming down from graduation season.  We’ve been getting open house invitations in the mail, and seeing cars driving around town painted with “Class of 2011” all over them.  It brings back a lot of memories, both of the awesome sense of accomplishment after being handed that diploma, and the dread of being a big fish in a small pond who is about to be relocated to the ocean.

A lot of kids in my high school spent graduation night at big parties with their friends, drinking Old Milwaukee at a cornfield bonfire hosted by somebody’s “cool parents”.  Or maybe they spent their evening with girlfriends, making plans for a summer at the beach, college orientation, and their wide-open futures.

Not me.  I was avoiding my future.

I spent graduation night out way too late, hanging out with a boy who listened to loud music and played violent video games, trying desperately to hang onto what I thought then were the best years of my life.

I learned later that every year has its moments, and that high school is not someplace I would ever choose to go back to, but still…

Whenever I hear this song, I think of that night–speeding down pitch-dark dirt roads in the backwoods of northern Michigan with the windows of that rusted-out AMC Eagle all the way down, blasting music at top volume and trying to outrun the pressures of adult life that were hot on our heels.

Some days I wish I would’ve let adulthood catch me sooner–maybe I could’ve avoided some hardship over the years–but I know that where I’ve been is part of what’s led me to where I am.

And the person I’ve become… Even if it took me a while to grow up and accept it.

And for all of that, I’m thankful.

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