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Late bloomers

One thing that I have been hard on myself about (I think unnecessarily) is that from a social life standpoint, I definitely consider myself to be a "late bloomer". This is an issue I talk about a lot with my counselor. Those who have known me for even a little while know that I tend to be reserved, introverted and not very talkative. In fact, one of my favorite Facebook pages out there is called Introverts Are Awesome (and they are!). Now, why God created me that way is something I don't understand, and won't understand in this life. Hopefully I'll understand it in the next one!
I definitely have a chip on my shoulder from the standpoint that, in my opinion, the teachers and staff in elementary school and high school (I went to Catholic schools in both instances), didn't do enough to help me overcome my social awkwardness. Those who know me know I don't like starting controversy, but pretending I'm not upset doesn't do any good either. For the life of me, how can they not see that it was extraordinarily difficult for me to connect and interact with my peers?! I mean, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and the Three Blind Mice could see that! I understand that the primary purpose of going to school is to get an education, but aren't schools also supposed to be concerned about developing the total person? I honestly feel like I'm going to be playing catchup in that area for the rest of my life.
By the same token, I'm the first to admit I'm being very hard on myself. Every one of my classmates at the high school level was going through adolescence, and by its very nature, that is a very awkward phase of life. Everyone deals with it differently. We all have skeletons in our closets or have done things we're not proud of. You never know what people are dealing with internally. I think that's why I try to be even-tempered in dealing with other people. There are plenty of times I don't succeed, but I am pleased that I get back up and try again.
Something I've come to realize recently is that I have more going for me than I get credit for. I remember being voted "Most Honest" by my classmates in my senior year of high school. Looking back, it means a lot. It makes me realize that enough of my peers respected me for how I treated others and conducted myself, even though there were plenty of days in high school where I didn't say a word, either in the classroom or in a social setting. I'm sure that if my classmates were to read this blog post, and then if I were to reunite with them in the future, many of them would say in reply to this post, "Hey man, don't be so hard on yourself."
I'm grateful that I have a strong support system in place these days help me stay on the straight and narrow path. I've come to realize that God works through the people He has placed in my life, and I am grateful for that!