Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “growing up”

High School



That’s me in June 2001 at my high school graduation.

I miss that hair.

I miss that lack of an almost double chin that I have now.

Otherwise, it feels about a million years ago, not 12. I went to my 10 year high school reunion last in 2011 and it was such a weird experience. Mostly because I was newly separated and it was an awkward thing of “oh is your husband here?” which them followed with my telling people I was separated and the person I was talking with giving me that face people make when they are embarrassed/surprised/have no idea what to say/do next. It was also strange because the Book of Face and the interwebs have sort of eliminated the need for reunions and so the night just felt a little forced.

In high school, I wasn’t the super student like I was in college. I did well in my advanced and honors classes and graduated something like 31 out of 200 or so people. I was involved in the music program, singing in all the choirs, head of the rifle/color guard squad in marching band, and a member of the debate team.

High school was filled with a lot of fun times with friends. I didn’t drink and other than trying weed once, I never did drugs ( didn’t in college either and clearly no plans to at the age of 30.) My weekend nights were spent with my friends, often in our parents’ kitchens cooking ‘dinner parties’- we would all make something together and then play games or watch movies after. It was a lot of fun thinking back on it. There was always someone to go to the movies with or a random shopping trip for something silly we had to have like a denim skirt. I had an active social life, but all my friends and I were similar in being studious and involved at school.

The most rebellious thing we probably did was “cruise” a wide boulevard type street in the city next to our town, mostly to flirt with boys. When I think about it now, it was so silly to spend hours in the car going up and down the street looking for cute boys in other cars, popping U-turns or waiting in parking lots for when we saw ones we liked. As gas prices have consistently creeped up, I’ve often wondered if that’s something “kids these days” still do. Such a waste of time and money ( and one time a friend got a ticket for running a red light). I was a frequent driver on these silly nights in my car, a 1989 white Chrysler LeBaron convertible which had to have the heat on all year round so the engine didn’t overheat. It had pleather seats and we named the car “Flash” because it went topless. We all had names for our cars ( didn’t everyone do that?)

I didn’t have a cell phone until i was a junior in high school and even then, it was to be on only before and after school and basically served the purpose of me calling my parents to let them know I’d gotten somewhere safely or to ask their permission to stay out a bit later than I told them. I had a curfew of either 10 or 11 and my dad would stay up watching TV until I came home. We had dial up internet for a thousand years ( seriously, when I moved back from college in 2005, it was the first thing I made them do) and the computer was most often on a desk in my parents room so I didn’t use AOL Instant Messenger anywhere near as much as my friends.

I didn’t date much in high school and actually never had a ‘boyfriend’ until my senior year. I went on dates every now and again, but for the most part, I was super busy with school stuff and for the most part, had spent a good deal of life with the same people in school, so the interest wasn’t quite there. I worked at Blockbuster my junior and senior years before heading off to college.

For so many people, high school is one of those things when you look back you’re just terribly embarrassed or humiliated by- I certainly can remember a few of those moments (mostly the clothes mistakes!), but for me, high school was fun- not in the way that I look back at it as my glory days, but more in that I had a great time with great people. Even though I don’t talk to or see those friends anywhere near as much as I’d like to these days, I still think of them and our fun times often and that to me makes it all even better.

The Changing of the Closets

Columbus Day weekend is upon us and I always use the three day weekend to do some closet transitioning  putting away the strappy sandals and sundresses to make way for woolens and boots. Even though I know the New England weather will bring its fair share of warm weather still into mid-October, this time of year is perfect to start the change over to fall and (dare I say!) winter clothing.

Except this year, the changing of the closets brings on a whole new meaning.

In an effort to honor the body I have right now, I’m going to be doing some serious purging of the clothes. At the end of last winter, I had a handful of pants and skirts that were snug that I put away in hopes that by the beginning of this cooler weather season, I would fit in them again. I don’t even have to try them on to know this is not true. I have already started slowly sifting through these piles of clothes I had hoped to fit into and bringing them to girlfriends who will love them ( and fit in them!), consignment  or Salvation Army. It feels good to get rid of the stuff that lies around. Taking them out of the closet was an important step to begin with- seeing them there was not motivating me in the way that I had hoped, but mocked me everyday to remind me of what size I wasn’t.

The changing of the closets this time around also is about getting rid of clothes, shoes, purses, etc. that just aren’t part of my lifestyle any more. I don’t need small tiny cocktail purses in six different colors because I don’t go out anywhere near as much as I used to, and super rarely to a place that I dress up so much that I want a purse to compliment my outfit. Those six or seven rhinestone studded low-cut tops have not been worn since senior year of college, but somehow they have stayed in my closet all these years. In the opposite vein, I should not buy any more lounge pants or sweaters to hang around in the house in- while I do spend far more time at home than I used to, a different sweatshirt and lounge pants is not required for each day.  I’m really trying to pare down my wardrobe into the things I love and wear and keep the special items that are really awesome- I’m definitely trying to make it about quality not quantity.

In the past year of tight budgets and watching my bottom line, my shopping habits have changed. I don’t go out at the beginning of every season to pick up the latest trends- I’ve actually started shopping at the END of each season to get an item I need so I get stuff on clearance. This lack of shopping has caused some wear and tear on some favorited items and I will be sad to see those go, but I’m also learning that to feel my best, I have to look the part, and wearing a pilled, discolored sweater that looks tired and worn out will not make me feel like Super Woman.

The biggest change in the closets is a weird one- I now have more flat-ish shoes than super heels.  I recently realized I owned only 2 pairs of work appropriate shoes to bring me into the new season, and both of those have seen better days. Last Saturday I picked up 3 new pairs of work shoes for a great bargain at Famous Footwear. For the first time maybe ever in my life, they were all flats, two made by Naturalizer, who, I can admit, I previously associated as a brand that my mom and aunt wore (sorry gals!) But these three pairs of shoes are CUTE ( a pair in pewter, one in black, one in brown), are work and weekend appropriate for pants or dresses, and ARE SUPER COMFORTABLE. It’s definitely a sign of the times for me; after many many years of this 5 foot 2 inch woman wearing 4 inch high heels, my feet, hips, and Achilles tendon hurt just enough after a day in high heels for me to realize I need more flats in my life. I previously associated this with feeling or looking old, being frumpy, or just plain lazy to not make the commitment to heels all the time.

I’m not sure if the change is just because the pain is becoming more obvious to me now than before ( or less bearable perhaps?) or just because I realize how impractical running around a museum carrying a 50 pound painting is with a pair of stilettos. Needless to say, the changing of my closets reflects a change in my thinking about how I see myself and how I perceive others to see me- I guess I’m “growing up!”

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