Tuesday, February 06, 2007

High School Never Ends

High school was full of politics, and everything seemed personal. Cliques, who’s cool, what you’re supposed to wear, gossip about personal relationships, an intense concentration of bluff and hot air. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed high school, largely because I was never invited and didn’t try to be part of that scene.

Then you go back 10 years later, and none of that was of consequence anyway. Most of it had no bearing on the years that followed.

In the freshness of our 20s and 30s, it seemed as adults we might outgrow those things we hated about high school.

But as time goes on, things more and more resemble high school again. Things are still that personal (vs. logical), and those same games get played every day but with more at stake.

If you’re too logical, you get labeled as negative. If you’re too passionate, you’re labeled as too intense. If you’re persistent, you get labeled a PITA (pain in the derriere). If you’re focused, you get labeled as insensitive. If you don’t gossip, you get labeled as aloof. If you aren’t theatrical, you’re labeled as cold.

Those cliques in high school… they are replaced by golf foursomes. If you don’t go along to get along, you get left off invitations to events or frozen out of decisions. If you aren’t theatrical or flamboyant about your personal life, people say you don’t have a life.

But just like high school… you can ignore all that and still succeed. To focus on it drains your energy and, in 10 years, none of it will be of consequence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. I observe this same phenomenon at my workplace, and it drives me nuts. I've said some of these same things to my wife, almost verbatim, on many occasions. It's not easy taking the long perspective, especially if, as you say, the stakes are high, but that's pretty much the only way not to get too stressed out about it...