As I lay in bed this morning, ignoring my alarm and browsing Facebook to avoid the inevitable, I found myself feeling a little melancholic (not only because I had to get up for work!). I was looking through my news feed and saw a lot of people who I used to go to school with. Some who were my close friends, some who were acquaintances, and some who I barely spoke to in the 6-7 years that I studied at the same school.
I had my group of close friends and I’m sure we all thought the world revolved around us. But now, more than 7 years after finishing secondary/high school, I hardly have any contact with my school friends. Nothing bad happened, we just drifted apart. We moved on from school, got jobs, went to uni, moved away, and eventually made new friendships. It’s sad but it’s a part of life.
What I feel a little melancholic about is the fact that there were a lot of people I never made an effort to get to know. Somehow I’ve ended up Facebook friends with some of them, and I will see them post something funny, or comment on a subject that I like, or even share a life event that I can relate to, and I think to myself ‘Why were we never close?’.
If I could go back in time and do it all again, I think that’s one of the things I would try to do. Be a little more outgoing and talk to different people. I can be a little bit shy in the beginning, but I think I’m quite outgoing nowadays! It’s been much easier since leaving school. I think because I was still trying to come to terms with my sexuality (everyone around me knew I was gay before I did!), I just wanted to blend in and be a part of the background. I didn’t want people questioning me about my sexuality when I didn’t even know the answer, so I just stuck with the people who I felt most comfortable with.
I don’t want to sit here and think about all the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s of my teenage life, otherwise I’m sure this would just be the tip of the iceberg, so I thought it would be better to write my 16 year old self a little letter instead:
I wish I could explain to sixteen year old Matt just how important it is to be kind and true to who you are, but in all honesty I think that’s a lifelong lesson that has to be learnt the hard way…