High school romance has been on my mind lately. When I was in middle school, I thought I’d be swept off my feet sophomore year by some handsome singing and dancing jock that played basketball and had straight A’s (or in other words, Corbin Bleu’s Chad from High School Musical). I thought I’d have, or I might even want, a date to all my homecomings and a date lined up for prom by the end of junior year. As one might expect, this is absolutely not how high school has went for me or for anyone I’ve ever been friends with. No one has had the whirlwind romance we dreamed of as middle schoolers, and if anyone ever got close to such a candied reality, the couple broke up a few months later. The idea of a homecoming date seemed nice in theory, but my friends and I discovered just how fun it was to get dressed up and look pretty together for ourselves, and not to impress someone else. And don’t even get me started on how little I desire a prom date with the options I have now. Honestly though, it’s been so fine. I wouldn’t trade the friendships and experiences I’ve had with those friends for any relationship, and I know I didn’t have the emotional capacity or even the hours in the day to expend that much of my time and energy on someone other than myself. I’m older now, and having gained the tools to actually engage with others in a meaningful way, I think 2020 and beyond will hold many new opportunities for whatever romantic antics that I might want to get tied up in. Thinking back, I laugh all the time about my immature fantasies and the big, bold expectations I had about love before I even really understood just how unrealistic high school love stories in movies really were. I like reflecting on where I’ve stood with my grasp of reality, and it seems I’ve finally gotten good at differentiating between fantasy and reality, and what’s healthy versus what’s unhealthy. Let’s just hope I can keep my head on straight in college.