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Category: Aging, General / Topics: Choices and Decision Making Circumstances, Life Events Memories

Bumps and Breaks

by Dan Seagren

Posted: September 11, 2011

Thoughts inspired by an article on "Life After High School"....

I was inspired by a Time article by Annie Murphy Paul entitled “Life After High School.” She and others have wondered how our high school days affected our future lives. This encouraged (or possibly forced) me to think back on my high school days. When I was about twelve, I inherited a magazine route netting about fifteen cents on a good week. At fourteen I was old enough for a newspaper route in my neighborhood. Midway through high school a close friend was drafted and I took over his gardening job across the city working for a medical doctor.

High school was a mile and one-half away which I traversed on foot or by bicycle, never by car or bus. I took the usual courses, played in the marching band and orchestra, took a couple elective vocational courses. In my junior year, a neighbor recruited me to work in his factory which manufactured saws (jig saw types) where I worked half days for the second semester of my junior year and the entire senior year. My extra curricular days or daze was over.

Therefore, my high school years were not typical as I missed much of the socialization which climaxes seemingly in those latter years. As I read Annie's article, I could identify with it (one example of a study dated back to within ten years of my graduation). The conclusion I reached was there is some correlation between high school days and life after. And there is some correlation between those extra curricular activities and the future. And hard work is more productive than IQ.

I was an average student, enjoyed a few friendships (not a recluse nor a jock or a nerd) and probably would have done it differently if . . . That is a big IF because it was impossible. However, as I look back on all these years since 1945, I guess I'd say that my life has been one of both bumps and breaks. Yes, I have had a few breaks and some bumps along the way. In retrospect, my life has been so unlike I might have imagined had that been possible.

Annie was asked to speak at the graduation ceremony of her school and wondered what she would say and why she was asked in the first place. We understand. Had it been me, I guess I would talk about bumps and breaks. Fair enough?



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Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: September 11, 2011

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