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Here’s to late bloomers

Here’s to late bloomers

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 8:00 pm

High school graduation season has come and gone. This time of year always brings back memories of my own high school graduation 32 years ago. Remember all those cords, sashes and honors paraphernalia that you wore over your graduation gown? Yeah … me neither.  
I didn’t graduate with honors. I wasn’t in Beta Club or any other “smart kid” club. Lots of my friends proudly wore the cords and sashes which, of course, made me look even worse in the graduation pictures. I’m sure they look at the pictures now and say, “Wait a second. Who’s that big blonde girl and why would we let that non-sash-wearing underachiever in our graduation picture?” I was fun, people. I was fun. Remember?
I didn’t get athletic scholarships either. I was 6 foot tall with no hand-eye coordination. I know. It’s a bummer. My basketball coach thought so, too. So much height. So little talent.  
Music scholarship? Not quite. I played piano for two years though I think the word “played” might be a little generous. I did put my fingers on the keys but sadly, music was not the final result. Don’t even bring up the year I played the violin. The screeching sound scared the neighborhood children and killed the rose bush outside my bedroom window.  
Of course, there was the French Club. But I didn’t speak French so that was out. The Spanish Club always served food in their meetings. But an intense desire to eat tortilla chips and salsa didn’t seem like a noble reason to join a club.
I was never voted “Most Likely to Succeed” or even “Class Clown.” If I had been assigned a designation in high school, it would have been “Most likely to hang out with the band kids even though she can’t play an instrument.” Some of my 500 classmates probably don’t even remember my name.  
Guess what? It doesn’t matter. At all. Thankfully, my destiny in adulthood wasn’t carved out by an insecure teenage girl 32 years ago. High school didn’t define me. And if you’re a teenager, good or bad, it doesn’t define you either.
Even if you’re the president of every club, the best athlete, the Valedictorian, you’re still a teenager. You have a lot to learn. Listen to adults. Pay attention to people who get up early every morning and go to work day after day year after year. They have more wisdom than you can possibly imagine.
Become a student of kindness. Learn what it means to keep working even when you’re tired. Show respect for people who are often treated disrespectfully. Don’t be afraid of failure as it’s the necessary stepping stone for almost every successful person.  
Oh, and if you’re a teenager who hasn’t been much of a “stand out” yet, worry not. Life is still waiting. It’s not too late to discover your passions and abilities. It’s never too late to make a plan for your life. And if you happen to be a loud, tall, fun-loving, underachieving teenage girl with no hand-eye coordination, start writing.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, lisasmartt.com. She may be contacted at lisa@lisasmartt.com.

Published in The Messenger 6.5.13

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