Some things never change. High school kids wore rolled up jeans in the 50's and bell bottoms in the 60's and they're wearing saggy (or skinny) jeans now. But they're all doing the same thing: searching for their identities. And for the most part they're searching in the same places: school hallways, athletic fields, parties.
What's even more interesting is that the identity profiles are also the same. There's the tall, athletic guy, for example, who's seeking fame and glory with his power shot. There's the kid who's just looking for popularity by hanging out with the "right kids". There's the kid who's aiming for a prestigious college, sitting in the front row and spending after-school time with his nose in the books. And there's the loner who can't seem to fit in with all those others and is left behind feeling like his pockets have been emptied.
It doesn't matter whether we're talking about boys or girls, straights or gays, stoners or jocks or whatever. It's the same in all the groups. It's not about gender or sexual preference or outward appearance, it's about the inner quest for identity. And while some of these kids can find that identity independently, needing only their own mirrors for validation, there are others who need a peer group to reflect back to them who they are so they know which path to follow.
Unfortunately, those peers are so busy seeking for themselves that they can't, or won't, help the ones standing alone back there.
I wouldn't want to be in high school again if you paid me. Partly because I wouldn't want to have to go through all that as a teen all over again. But also partly because I know that the search for identity and those high school seeker profiles don't go away when the diplomas are handed out.
In fact, those diplomas are really tickets to proceed with the rest of the identity journey, a journey along which we continue to find the same profiles even decades later: those who seek fame and glory, those who need to be in the center of the circle, those who strive for success, and those who - because of sensitivities or insecurities or countless other reasons - are left behind.
My hope for those who are left behind is that they inspect those empty pockets and therein find hope. In time, hope can lead them to the right path, the one that leads to inner acceptance and peace. From there, they can watch their peers amble and scramble along all those other paths. From there, the left-behinders (at any age) will have the view and see, perhaps even before their peers do, where all those other paths really lead.