My brother and I were both tested for the gifted program in elementary school. My brother tested, got in and excelled at it. I tested, got in but refused to go. When my parents asked me why I didn’t want to go into the program, I told them that none of my friends were in it.
Even at that young age, I knew something that carried with me through my entire life, the one piece of stability I needed in my world of forever moving parts—that it didn’t matter where you were in life, how bad the place was, how horrible the atmosphere, food, weather or any other detail of your surrounding was. All that mattered was the people you were with.
I talk about my AF brat childhood more as an adult than I ever did as a kid. I realize now that a lot of the way I am and the person I’ve become was due to the circumstances of how I grew up. Moving from school to school and town to town wasn’t always a picnic but as long as I liked the people I surrounded myself with, I was happy.
Through my life time, I’ve held onto my close friendships I made as a kid. Maybe too closely. Now I tend to think it was something constant I was longing for all those years moving around when nothing else was constant.
I don’t know if it’s a good thing but one time one of my close high school friends told me she admired that I was able to maintain life long friendships. At the time, I thought it was an odd thing for her to say. I honestly did not know there was any other way to be a friend. Friends were your chosen family and family was forever, right?
I’ve forgotten why I started writing this or where I was going with it. Something urged me to write this down as the rain drops down tonight and I can’t sleep. I remember the times I used to have, my old friend-who’s birthday is today and how we keep in touch 34 years later even though our lives have virtually no common thread any more. But as I sit here, I smile and I know in my heart that because of the people like her in my life over the years, I’ve always been surrounded by wonderful people who have made this life worth living, no matter where living was at the time.
It might not have been the best decision I made for my education all those years ago when I refused to enter the gifted program, but I think it was the right choice for me and what I needed at the time, regardless of how deep you want to think about it. Shout out to my parents who let me make that decision and kudos to all the people who were there for the ride. Because I couldn’t imagine what I’d be pondering at this time of night otherwise….