Every one of us is on their own personal journey. We like to think of our lives as narratives, ones that only end when we go six feet under.
However, during this journey, we are bound to experience highs and lows. There will be some good days, and other days will be dismal.
However, for many of us, the future is an exciting thing, a pool filled with untapped potential waiting to be realized.
Unfortunately, some believe that their best days are behind them. They believe that they’ve already enjoyed their prime years and that they have nothing more to look forward to.
I’m talking about people who “peaked in high school.”
What does it mean to “peak in high school”?
People who peak in high school are those who had the time of their life during their last four years of school and haven’t experienced anything comparable since.
This might be the star athlete who never left their hometown or the valedictorian who never lived up to their potential. The idea is that their accomplishments and recognition as an adult pale in comparison to what they achieved back in high school.
Regardless, people who peaked in high school tend to live in the past. They keep obsessing over their younger years, talk about them with anyone who’ll listen, and try to relive them in any way they can.
Ergo, part of peaking in high school is a state of mind. It is believing that things will never get better.
Where does the expression come from?
As stated earlier, life’s a journey filled with ups and downs. For instance, some of the ups include the day we get married, the day our first-born is welcomed into the world, and the day we win that trophy or competition we’ve been fighting for.
And, obviously, different ups can vary in how positive they are. In other words, the amount of joy someone feels when they get a new dog will probably be stronger than the happiness felt when your boss gives you a compliment at work.
Ergo, if your ups can vary in intensity, then there will probably be peaks throughout your life. These will be moments where your happiness was so intense that it not only was bursting out of your chest, but it also dwarfed all other positive moments you could remember at the time.
These are the moments where someone says, “this is the happiest moment of my life,” and these are the moments we live for.
However, if someone peaked in high school, this means that they have already experienced the happiest moment of their lives, and it was in high school.
They’ve achieved their peak success back when they were teenagers, and they might never experience anything comparable ever again.
It’s a sad thought because it means that these people, in a way, have nothing to look forward to. Everything that makes life worth living is in their past. Or, at least, that’s how they see it.
“To peak in high school”: Examples
Suppose two friends are talking.
Friend #1: Guess who I saw yesterday.
Friend #2: Who?
Friend #1: Shannon Oberstead.
Friend #2: Woah. That girl was really talented. Wasn’t she in like three clubs plus all the extracurriculars she was involved in?
Friend #1: Yeah, she was super talented. She could sing, dance, and act, and this is not to mention her academic achievements.
Friend #2: Everyone loved that girl. What happened to her now?
Friend #1: Well, believe it or not, she works as a Walmart greeter. When I ran into her, she kept talking with me about the good old days and how everything was better when we were younger.
Friends #2: Talk about peaking in high school.
Let’s assume that high schoolers are throwing a party, and a thirty-year-old man crashes said party, trying to hang out with the teenagers. Worse still, the man is wearing his school’s old colors.
In this case, the teenagers might assume that the man had peaked in high school.
The problem with peaking in high school
First of all, peaking in high school is more of a mindset than an actual reality. The fact of the matter is that nothing is holding these people back from making new memories except themselves. They choose to live in the past rather than create new memories and look to the future.
Granted, for some, peaking in high school is not a choice. They might have been able to flourish in the microcosm that is high school. Yet, when they go out to the real world, they might find that the competition is too stiff and they just can’t cut it.
In such a scenario, these individuals might choose to avoid the reality of the situation and decide to live in the past where they were celebrated for their talents.
However, in a case where the outside world breaks someone, said individual has a choice. They can choose to live in denial and hang on to their past. Or, they can move on and decide to find pleasure in other parts of life.
And, while both groups may be considered to have peaked in high school, it is the former group that leads a sad life, while those that have moved on might have a more fulfilling life.
After all, we can’t all be famous athletes, movie stars, and renowned singers. But, if we accept our lot in life, we can still lead very fulfilling lives.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.