This morning, while I was driving to work I passed by my old high school. The outdoor sign with various announcements of school activities read “Jr/Sr Prom 5/24.” This morning it was also downpouring rain and we’ve had a few rainy weeks recently here in southern Massachusetts. My first thought was how many high school girls might be freaking out that it was going to rain on Thursday night for their prom. Then I started thinking back to the busy time right before prom when I was in high school.
I went to three proms while I was in high school- my own junior and senior years, as well as to the prom when I was freshman with a junior ( he was my brother’s friend and didn’t have a date- I was a last minute add-on that included buying a dress at Filene’s Basement for $16!!!) While I was not one of the girls who made a big deal with prom preparations with fake nails and tanning, I concerned a great deal about my hair and makeup. I’m sure I was worrying about the weather the day of prom and where we would take pictures, what kind of car we would drive in or take a limo, or where we would hang out post-prom.
It sort of makes me laugh thinking about how those were my concerns over ten years ago- they seemed so huge to 17 year old me ( as I am sure they do today to current 17 year olds), but now at 29, those are such trivial, small parts of life. If senior in high school me knew what 29 looked like- newly divorced trying to make her own way in the world- would I have made a big deal about things at 17? I don’t even think I made as huge a deal over these trivial things in high school ( though should check with Mom on that) because I knew there was a whole other big world out there that had bigger issues than whether another girl would have the same dress on as me.
There is that phrase which goes something like ” if you throw everyone’s problems into a pile and could choose any to take out, you’d choose yours again.” And as I’ve been thinking of the setbacks and the road ahead for me, I think for the most part that it is true. I am overwhelmed and trying to take things on one at a time, but I’m trying to positive and keep perspective on all of it. I should probably tattoo the phrase “it could be worse” on my arm to remind me during those down moments. I am incredibly blessed and thankful to have a supportive network to lean on and go to for various issues, something that many people don’t have when going through a divorce or any other great loss or life changing event. My “problems” seem like big issues to me, but have steps to help resolve them, options for solutions, etc. Some people don’t have that or have the luxury of support.
The other thing about “problems” is that with time and experience, their importance and meaning becomes something else. In ten years, I’ll look back at this time and know how it strengthened me as a person and bettered life. In ten years, I will have a whole new set of challenges. Things will not stop- life will continue around me, but I truly feel that this current bumpy part of life is setting me up to better handle anything new that comes my way in the future. I feel stronger by the day and even though my various “problems” are stress inducing, I know I am not the first, the last, or the only to deal with them.