Why “the best years of our lives” may not actually be the best

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“These four years are the best years of your life; enjoy them while they last.”

This piece of “advice” is something that has been said to me more times than I’d like to admit throughout the past three years that I’ve been in high school. I’ve heard it from teachers, older friends, relatives, and my parents.

When I was a freshman, I took this advice to the heart. Going into high school, I believed that it would really be the best time of my entire life. Each day, I sat in my economics class desperately trying to cherish the “greatness” of it all. Now, though, hearing that phrase makes me sad. A thought that used to bring high hopes of a High School Musical-type experience has lost its meaning. Now I ask, how can it really be possible that four measly years out of an entire lifespan are “the best”?

For me, it seems much more possible to hold onto the belief that many years of my life will be “the best.” Yes, maybe while you’re actually in high school, it seems that these four years truly are “the best ever.” But perhaps that’s only because you have nothing more to compare them to yet.

How can it really be possible that four measly years out of an entire lifespan are “the best”?”

At the ripe age of 16, I haven’t even experienced half of the things I hope to in my lifetime. Although this may be shocking to some, many of these things will occur outside of “the FHC bubble.” With this in mind, however, there is absolutely something to be said for taking joy from the high school years. Many wonderful, exciting, and new things happen during our time here, and it would be a waste not to enjoy them. The relationships, opportunities, and social activities are currently happening at a multitude that we may never experience again after we leave these white brick walls.

But even so, there is always more to come. The world is so much bigger and broader than the high school you attend, so how could one possibly reduce the best years of an entire life to one place?

Will these four years be the best when you’ve graduated college with the degree you’ve always wanted? Will these four years be the best when you travel the world and experience the brilliance of cultures abroad? Will these four years be the best when you bring a wonderful, bubbly, and noisy new human into the world?

Ultimately, our lives are always growing and changing, even as we think they remain sedentary. It is because of this, that these four, wild, teenage years in high school are only part of “the best years of our lives.”

It is a collective of years, filled with things that aren’t even imagined yet. Even though these years are good now, even better years are to come.

That, for me, is a much more comforting, possible thought.