a woman with insomnia looking at a picture of her younger self graduating high school and feeling nostalgic and proud

Unexpected Reflections On My Past Self

Recently a former classmate of mine posted our high school graduation video to Facebook. I wasn’t a fan of high school. I never feel the wave of nostalgia people do when reminiscing over high school. I’m not even sure how I ended up with my own VHS copy of my high school graduation. It sits somewhere, never watched, in a box full of other random items from that period of my life.

Reliving the memories with my kids

The first time I watched my graduation video was roughly 15 years later with my children. Another classmate of mine had converted their VHS copy to a format that allowed them to post it on YouTube. Hearing my kids laugh at the quality of the video and how awkwardly I walked across the stage to accept my diploma made me happy.

Between the glaring late afternoon sun making it nearly impossible to see anything and the way I walked due to the poor choice I made in the dress shoes I was forced to wear, I’m glad my kids were able to witness me in the series finale of my high school awkwardness.

Seeing myself in a new light

Watching it the second time brought up a different set of thoughts and feelings. I assume it’s due to opening up more about my experiences with insomnia. I viewed the young girl in the video a lot differently. This time I did reminisce. Not about Friday night football games, homecoming, prom, and all of the other high school milestones most of us remember fondly. I didn’t participate in most of these activities.

What I saw in myself as I walked across the stage was someone who managed to get out of bed every day and still make it to class, even if I had only an hour or two of sleep the night before. I still managed to make good grades, participate in class, and always have my homework done.

Some days were not easy, but I still managed to be a good student. Regardless of how tired I was, I would go home and do my homework or study for tests. I didn’t cancel my plans with my friends because I didn’t sleep the night before.

How my attitude changed then versus now

Looking at myself then versus now, I’ve realized how much my attitude about insomnia has changed. As a teenager, it was easier to view it as something I just had to deal with. I probably assumed by the time I reached the age I am, it wouldn’t bother me anymore. Watching the video a second time a few years later, I didn’t expect what I took away from a video I’ve never really cared about.

It will probably be a long time before I watch it again if I ever do. I hope to get back to the point one day where insomnia no longer dictates certain parts of my life. It helped me see I have always pushed through, even on my worst days, and still could accomplish goals I set for myself.

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