The other day I hung out with one of my best friends who I have known since the ninth grade. Both of us lost our jobs and are currently trying to figure out what's next. We both came to the same conclusion, we don't want to settle. I spent ten years at a job that I didn't love and I don't want to do that again. I want to wake up and be happy to start my day, not dread it. More importantly during this conversation I asked him what would our sixteen year old selves think of us now. We both laughed because we knew each other better than ourselves and the words didn't even need to be said out loud. Our sixteen year old selves would be disappointed.
We always had big dreams. Huge. Indestructible was our mentality and nothing was going to stop us. The world was an open floor plan and we were going to conquer it. We were going to build a life of adventure that would lead to success.
My dream was to travel the world. Work (possibly for a magazine) and live in NYC and go to work dressed in the latest designer fashions. I'd have late night meetings at local high end bars and spend my weekends at the museums and in Central Park. I'd have a stack of Playbills on my bookshelf and an active social life, constantly pushing myself to learn and discover new things.
Obviously none of that happened. Well, I can't say none of it. I do have a stack of Playbills that now is a constant reminder that I should have saved my money instead of spending it. And that's the thing. When I was sixteen money wasn't an issue. I didn't think about how much it would cost to fly to Egypt and to Italy. I didn't realize that I would need to work a full time job while I went to college full time and that when you have a job you can't decide one day to drive across country. You have responsibilities. And I. I took the responsible route. My sixteen year old self would have taken the other route and sometimes I wonder, if I would have let her make the decisions, how different my life would be.
So I've decided that I'm going to live to make my sixteen year old self happy. When I was sixteen I lived life to the fullest, or as full as I could with a curfew and no license. I miss the girl who would take on a challenge without knowing all the details because she simply wanted to. The girl who rarely said no and would give everything a shot at least once.
I think that is why so many people enjoy YA books. It brings you back to a time in your life when you had the world in front of you and the only person who could stop you was you. But why can't you live that way at twenty-seven? At fifty? At seventy-five? The only person that can stop you, is you.
What would your sixteen year old self think of you now?