A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, a criminal…
If you’re familiar with what these words are referring to, then you’ll know right away that this list refers to the stereotypical labels — the characters themselves — that are portrayed in the 1985 movie, The Breakfast Club.
The reason why it’s one of my favorites, and still remains a fan favorite classic film, is because the relevancy of theme is timeless.
High school was an interesting time for me. Like any teenager, I was just trying to figure things out — figure myself out.
I didn’t have a bad high school experience. I don’t wish to forget my high school memories or gloss over that time of my life.
In fact, I’d say I actually loved high school. I belonged to a variety of extracurriculars. I did well in my classes. I had a lot of great friends (some of whom I am still friends with).
However, I never placed myself in one of those Breakfast Club buckets. I was never singularly an athlete, or a brain, or a basket case. Instead, I saw myself as overlapping with all three.
I played sports and legitimately enjoyed learning, but sometimes also had moments when I kind of just wanted to be alone. I never kept to one group. I didn’t want to have friends just through sports or just through my classes.
I never wanted to be just one thing. And I didn’t want to be seen or labeled as the type of person who would only associate with xyz group. And I’m glad for it.
To this day, I’ve stayed pretty true to carrying that quality over into adulthood.
But, since high school and college, I’ve grown up quite a bit. I’m a lot more patient, wiser (I hope), and I handle situations much better than I did when K was younger — Of course, that’s a huge thanks to experience.
Inherently though, I would say that I’m quite the same as I was since then. And based on what my friends from high school tell me, they would agree that I haven’t changed much either.
For the most part, I’m glad when that happens — when people whom I’ve known very well are still inherently the same person that I was friends with before and that life hasn’t gotten the best of them.
However, there are certain qualities that people take with them into adulthood that I wish they could have been left behind in high school.
I was fortunate to have gone to a very diverse school which had a pretty good mix of people — different races, different backgrounds.
But, just like any school, there were also different social groups. And some groups didn’t often overlap or intermingle. A lot of people stuck to their circle. And you can still often see that a lot amongst adults.
I can see it at work, on the subway, in public in general. People still stick to the groups they associate with and feel comfortable in. As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.”
And I think that plays a pretty huge role in why the workplace, our neighborhoods, or cities, our states, and even our entire country is divided.
We’re still acting the way we were in high school.
We only associate with people who look, think, and act the way we do. And the cycle will never end so long as we grow up to be adults, then become parents, then teach our children the same thing. If this continues, we’ll always be divided.
What would happen if we put five vastly different people in a room — five people from completely different races, different religions, different family backgrounds, who have completely different opinions and beliefs — How would they treat each other?
Would they speak to one another?
Would they argue?
Would they get along?
Would they leave feeling differently about one another?
That question was left hanging at the ending of The Breakfast Club.
And I often think about this.
In a country, in a world, where there are so many people who are so different from each other, we would still rather only be around those who are exactly like us.
That’s the problem with the world.
We can’t learn new things by staying exactly the same.
Growing old isn’t the same as growing up. Some of us like to think we’ve become a different person, a better person than who we were in high school.
When you pose that question upon yourself, when you really ask yourself if you’ve changed, just take a look at the company you keep.
Who are they?
Don’t be bothered by those who judge. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. If you want things to change, start with yourself.
As Ghandi said,
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”