What happened to me in high school that altered the course of my life…
I thought about high school today. On Twitter’s landing page I saw the beginning of a tweet that asked, “How is your life in 2016 different than it is in 2016?” Well for one, I’m obviously older. Maybe I’m a little bit mature. I guess we like to think about what has changed for us, but I think a different question is, what has stayed the same? What are the aspects of my personality that have stuck around since I graduated from high school a decade ago.
I think I’m still an unapologetically goofy person. I’m not goofy all the time, not by a long shot. I know when I’m feeling it and when I should flip in. I’m also not as hard on myself when I’m not on. I’m not trying to impress anybody and I’m not putting on a show for anyone. I’m just me being me. I’m glad I’ve held on to that part of my character. I’d like to think it’s given me a little bit of personality around the different places I’ve worked and lived. People remember goofy. I think that’s a good thing. Maybe I’ll transition to more dad jokes. (Who am I kidding? I’ll always have dad jokes.)
I’m also a kind person who, in the words of a friend, “gives a shit.” I cared about our little corner of the world up in the northwoods of Wisconsin. I remember sending out emails reminding people to pick up trash or being a cheerleader for different initiatives around campus. I’m still like that in a way. Maybe I’m slightly less enthusiastic or seeing the world through rose colored glasses, but I like to think I have a grounded optimism. It’s an optimism that’s matured over the last few years.
I’m still an active person. I don’t really enjoy being inside all day. Let me rephrase that, most days I don’t enjoy being indoors and unproductive. I have to do something active, even if it’s just a 15 minute walk. That’s a good habit that I’m glad I’ve held on to. Hopefully it’s made me a healthier person all around. I also love being in the outdoors. I don’t camp as much I should, but I still find some peace just being outside. I love walking around the lakes near my house. It’s even better when I do it without headphones. I loved exploring the woods around Conserve. It was a real growth experience to be out there by myself.
I’ve also held onto my sense of humor. I’ve written about this before, but during our second opening convocation, my name in the program was spelled out as “Hick Hansen.” The dean of students at the time told me with a smile on her face that if it was to happen to anyone, she was glad it was me. Self-deprecation is important to me. Humility is a quality I find attractive. People who play up their accomplishments too much really bother me. Give me someone who’s honest about one really great thing than someone who’s exaggerating dozens of different things about themselves.