(to borrow the words of Ringo Starr.)
Sixteen was just around two years ago for me, though it feels like much shorter than that. I know many who might read this might think me to be a very young soul. Someone who hasn’t experienced much in her life. You might think me to be like most teenagers my age, caught up in high-school gossip and cliques or worrying about who I’ll date next or studying all the time or spending most my time doing sports. But that is not the case. At 16 that was me… but I’ve grown and I’ve learned since then.
At 16 I was still bumbling about high-school life, trying to figure out who I wanted to be. At that point, I was in my second to last year of high-school, still not entirely sure what I would be doing with my life after graduation. Though I was unsure of my future, I was still fearless. I was fearless because I didn’t care about anything else but living. You know those YoungAdult novels that start out with a strong female protagonist surrounded by her faithful counterparts? That’s what my life at 16 was like. I was surrounded by the best friends in the world and we often felt like we could do anything. When I was 16, I felt like nothing would ever change. I felt like I’d always be in my little town with my best friends by my side. I felt invincible, indestructible. Every aspect of me reflected those feelings. I acted spontaneously, never thinking twice about anything. I wore whatever the hell I wanted to, not caring what anyone would think or say about me. I was happy and reckless, just being me.
But as junior year ended and summer approached, I began to think about what I would do after high-school. I began to make plans and to worry about College. My biggest fear set it – the fear of the future. And I let that fear silence my fearlessness. I watched it happen to my other friends, as they turned seventeen and started to worry about what was next in their lives.
To quote Stephen Chbosky:
And there are people who forget what it’s like to be sixteen when they turn seventeen.
That’s what happened to me. I turned 17 and suddenly my life changed and I didn’t remember how to feel fearless or how to not care what anyone thought of me. All I began to care about was college applications, scholarships, keeping my GPA up and work. So often, I wish I could regain that sense of freedom and free spiritedness. But isn’t that a part of growing up?