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.