There’s a joy to youth that if not learned how to develop into adult enjoyment will continue with frivolity and narcissism – as children are wont to do.
A great playwright once said that “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.” I’ve been copying what people around me do, even when I didn’t want to be like them because I wasn’t given permission to be different as a kid – don’t ask questions in school and don’t bring that knowledge home or encourage that behavior through books in the house or trips to the library.
My stepdad worried that I’d end up a pregnant teenager, but that usually happens to the uneducated or unmotivated in positive situations. I had a goal and a drive to stand out; a passion I didn’t want squashed by other people or the systems they were in – school, military, family. At some point, I let the sheep mentality take over that I was on the right path, even if it meant not developing myself while still checking things off my to-do list so that I could fit in on some level.
I’m encouraged to see others breaking out of society’s shell of conformity, of hating self and fearing the other. I too want to walk that trail again of exploration but with an increased vigor to grow along the way. Children learn so much but adults are burnt out on their lives and the lessons go unnoticed until offspring turn to drugs and other crutches to aid their disabilities because our society hasn’t been taught how to strive and cope in the utopia of freedom that is our present.
There is rarely a decent and strong role model that is willing to be honest with someone on all fronts whether for personal preservation or to uphold their public image. People come from a place of fear and shame and so they act on that to hurt others, not fully realizing the vicious cycle. What would you tell your twelve-year-old self? I would tell her to be honest with herself in all things and to practice the passion she wants to grow with new habits.
Life seems like forever but is also fleeting. I would tell her to slow down and be pickier about who she chooses to interact with. Decide who you are, in the many roles you will play, and be sure to be present every day for yourself and all the other species you share this planet with.
Thank you – and well said!
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I wouldn’t want to chance scaring my younger self away from a moment that might have been a real turning point in my life but I might have also told her that it’s ok to take more chances. I’m just realizing that there is a smaller percentage of people that can maintain the perspective you have on life – one of happiness and constant growth and though I may have slowed down from my youthful eagerness I still have the drive and the idea that I’m on the right path, whatever that may be for me at the moment. I hope all my other readers can bridge the curiosity of their childhood with the contentment that comes with growing up.
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Ahem… far from burnt out, I feel like – at 63 – I’m just hitting my stride. If given the chance, I wouldn’t tell my own 13 year old self diddly squat! Why take a chance on screwing up who I’ve finally become? I’m EXACTLY who I want to be! This season of my life is as fraught with mystery, discovery, adventure, growth and all the vicissitudes of previous youth and adulthood, with the addition of one precious gift only obtainable with age… perspective. Perspective is what gives us strength to endure to the end. I wouldn’t trade who I am at this moment in time for all the possibilities you could dangle in front of me. Perspective also brings its own gift – contentment.