All my adolescence, I heard from various sources that these were "the best years of my life." And to everybody who gave me these words of wisdom... To everybody who shared this advice... To everybody who suggested that I enjoy my life to the fullest at that time, because from there on, life got hard... Fuck you. No, really, sincerely. I mean it. These friendly words of advice almost made me end my own life.

I was not a jock. I was not a member of the class presidency. I was not a stoner. I was not a skater. I was not a granola. I was not a drama geek. I was not a member of any clique. I was alone. Of course, I had "friends" from every group in school. But I only had one or two real friends, and they were busy with other things. I went to school, came home, watched tv, played computer, and went to bed. My brothers and sisters were all involved in extra-curricular activities, and I was usually home alone. And when they were home, we didn't really relate very well. Not enough to hang out, at any rate.

I was alone. You can't imagine what that's like unless you've been there, to be isolated from everyone around you. It's so empty... I almost killed myself many times because I was terrified that things were going to get worse. Everybody who told me that these were the best days of my life was handing me a gun and saying "you might as well, son."

But guess what? Now, less than a decade after high school, I'm living my dream. I live with a beautiful, loving wife, and a beautiful baby son. I work in the industry I'd always dreamed about. I have friends. I'm in love. I'm enjoying my life. Sure, there are hardships. Life is not easy. But I am so much happier now than I ever was as a teen. I had the opportunity to visit my home town a while ago, and it was a guilty pleasure to see the jocks and cheerleaders who had made my life miserable, teasing and picking on the outcast, working at gas stations and grocery stores.

Life does not end at high school, unless you want it to.

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