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The girls in Mean Girls wear pink on Wednesdays. Though we think we leave drama and teenage angst behind when we graduate high school, the world continues to hand us lemons. We still struggle with maintaining a firm foundation of our values, discovering our identity, pursuing our purpose, developing relationships and more. The teenage angst lives on; therefore, we can still learn from young adults as they come of age. Let’s take a look at some ladies as they’ve forged their way into adulthood.

My best friend and I recently have read and discussed Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before for our long distance book club, and it has led to some fun discussions about boys and high school and life. The story follows Lara Jean as she adjusts to life at home with her younger sister and father after her older sister heads to Scotland for college. During that time, the letters Lara Jean wrote to her previous crushes find their way from her private hat box to the boys’ mailboxes. She discovers the deliveries subsequently develops her ability actually to talk to the boys.

My high school friends and I resembled Lara Jean a lot in our lack of conversations with boys. Sure, we talked about them; we just didn’t exactly talk to them. However, we did slip anonymous cheesy love poems into boys’ lockers for fun. We enjoyed giggling while writing them and then watching the recipients’ faces as they read. We eventually progressed from there to have a couple dates and boyfriends in the groups.

Lara Jean has to face what we all have to face: learning the art of conversation and connection. She writes letters to express her feelings and her disappointments that nothing develops between her and her crushes. Once they get into the hands of the crushes, she sees that they lead to connections. From there, she learns to navigate the hopes, embarrassments, thrills and disappointments of talking to boys. As she gets to know a couple of them, she deciphers who she can trust and who might have the potential to become more than a crush.

Whether for friendships or relationships, we all have to brave the unknown and start conversations with people. As we get to know people who may have similar interests or in whom we have an interest, we can develop those relationships. Lara Jean finds a reminder of the importance of the connections around her, ranging from having new conversations with her sister to maintain their closeness after she leaves for college to admitting to her old crush she used to like him. We don’t know what depths a relationship may hold until we start conversations. Even with familiar ones, we can gain even more from maintaining the connection. So here’s to facing the unknown and the discomfort of continuing conversations to keep us connected.

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