Last year I went back to my childhood hometown for a school reunion. Sitting around the table where some people who went through from Kindergarten to Year 12 with me. That’s a big chunk of your life. Funnily enough I’m not sure any of us had changed that much, characteristics that were evident in kindy still seemed to be present in middle age for most of us!
In 1973, the year we started school, Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, wine casks and pop top cans were just being invented, the Sydney Opera House was opened, Margaret Court was winning in tennis, The Godfather was taking out the Academy Awards and “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” was a hit song!
The internet wasn’t even a figment of anyone’s imagination. The idea of carting around a phone in your back pocket would have unleashed hearty laughter, we were still steadfastly stuck to one spot with black, chunky rotary dial models. Our friendship dramas were played out face to face not on a computer screen.
While we were learning to count with Cuisenaire Rods and drinking warm milk at recess the world was changing, our mums were starting to go to work, the supporting mother’s benefit was introduced and expectations were high for equality as the way of the future.
So much had changed between the years, there had been love and loss, illness and struggles, successes and triumphs but at the end of the day those years sitting in country classrooms had shaped the grown-ups we became.
Funny though how your perception of yourself may be different to how others see you. When I was complaining about Hippie Child’s ability to “zone out and be vague” one of my school yard buddies remarked ironically “I don’t know where she would get that from”, I was shocked. I’m not vague. I’ve held very responsible jobs. I’ve passed difficult courses. She can’t possibly get that “I’m not very bright routine” from me. But later that evening a few long forgotten memories began to swirl … there could have been the odd moment … but it wasn’t very often … really it wasn’t.
It’s a startling revelation to see yourself through someone else’s eyes, particularly when they are remembering the child/teenage you.
On my personal Facebook page I have friends from every stage of my life from kindergarten through to my current job, I almost posted as an experiment,the question how would you describe me in three words or less? To see if it compared to how I would describe myself, but I chickened out. Was I afraid they would use words I couldn’t relate to? That they would see me in a way completely different to the image I thought I was projecting?
How would you describe yourself in three words or less? Would others agree? Has the description changed over the years?