The physical border of the local school district changed a lot when I was growing up. For some reason, just when I’d get used to one group of kids at school, the district would decide to alter the border’s location within the district and I’d attend the rival school the following year.
One would THINK this would have rounded out my circle of friends; however, it rounded out my circle of insecurities and worries.
My biggest first day challenge, besides finding the correct bus stop, would always be who I would sit with at the lunch table. Who am I going to share my sandwich with? Who will I talk to? Will they like me? Will I fit in? Or worse. What if I sit with them today, and tomorrow they decide to sit somewhere else?
It seems like yesterday that I’d come into the lunchroom to the odd aromas of ammonia and grilled cheese. The echo of trays, flatware and laughter as the energy of the first day of school filled the air. I sometimes liked, yet always loathed it every year. It was scary for me.
Picture panicked darting eyes searching for a familiar face. A smile. A nod. And finally… a seat.
These days, I still sometimes look for a place to sit at lunch. Not so much literally now as figuratively. Although, I rarely worry anymore about what to talk about, if I’ll be liked or if I’ll fit it. Age, perspective and experience tend to give me that freedom, but I’m still afraid.
Today, I worry about healthcare, politics, education, the youth of America and the condition of our world.
Perhaps the township will change the border on me once again.