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It’s amazing how slowly time seems to go as you experience childhood. You have those landmark days like Christmas and your birthday to mark the year, and it seems almost a lifetime in-between.

You grow up a bit.  Time starts to pick up its pace, but not by much.  You spend six years in Elementary School, convinced you have life all figured out.  Then you reach the end of your sixth grade year, and the pressures of the unknown begin to gnaw at the back of your mind as you contemplate the notion of — GASP! — Junior High.

By this point, time’s speed has increased markedly.  However, you soon discover that Junior High is no big deal, and you once more begin to believe that you have life all figured out, that things will always be as they are in that moment.  You have some notion of existing in a transient state, but as you deal with new friends, new enemies and the stresses that come with peer pressure, it’s really the last thing that enters your mind.

You reach the end of your eighth grade year, another milestone, and uncertainty creeps into your mind once again.  This time, it’s the frightening prospect of High School.  You’re not quite as worried about High School as you were about Junior High, but fear gets the better of you just the same.  You endure sleepless nights over summer vacation dreaming about forgotten classes, getting lost in an endless maze of foreign buildings and embarrassing moments with your peers.  Finally, you attend your first day of school, realize it’s nothing new and settle into your home away from home for the next four years.

This is the moment that time really decides to kick itself into gear.  People always used to tell you this would happen, but you never really believed them. You lose old friends, make new ones, lose yourself, find yourself.  When it’s all said and done, you’re standing there amidst your family and peers getting ready to receive your diploma.  You sing your school’s Alma mater one last time, and you find yourself trying to hide unexpected tears as you realize that, despite what you thought at the time, those really were the best years of your life.

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