Lighten up already…

I’ve been so focused upon the voting that has been taking place for a grant that is important to a volunteer group that I support that it has totally consumed this blog. Oh well, passion will out.

But now it’s time for something more along the normal lines that I write about; and for that, I turn to my most dependable source of inspiration – the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Recently, Jack featured this little saying – “Don’t let yourself forget what it’s like to be sixteen.”  (Tyler Ward).

Tyler’s quote is full of meaning and nuances, not the least of which I have written about more than once – the ability to recapture the wonder and innocence and energy of yourchild fishin gin puddlechildhood. But there is more to it than just that; there are things that we all went through at that age that should have taught us lessons for life, or at least given us the experiences that those lessons are based upon, even if we didn’t  understand them back then.  Sixteen is an inflection point time in life for most. It represents the time when one achieves the freedom of being able to drive yourself to the dance (instead of in the back seat with dad or mom or both in the car). It is also a point in life when raging hormones take over for a while and unfortunately the logical part of the brain is shunted aside all too often. But, all-in-all it’s a great time. It is exciting and scary, full of great hopes and great disappointments. In this country, it is the start of the final transition chapter from childhood into adult life – high school.

I’ve written here before about the need to let the inner child in all of us out to play once in a while – see and

But I didn’t mention reaching back to one’s tween and teen years so much; maybe that’s because those years were as full of fears and doubts and perhaps pain, that they are not friends at schoolas much fun to conjure up as the years of earlier childhood. But those were also the years when boys stopped being stinky, booger-brains and girls climbed down out of the trees and put on make-up and dresses. Things changed forever during those years. The Barbie and Ken dolls were traded in for the real things. Music became more than background noise and suddenly you cared about what you looked like in the mirror. The loss of the innocence of childhood was not immediately replaced by the wisdom of the adults and therein was the source of a lot of stupid decisions. But, somehow, most of us make it through those years and come out on the other side a bit scared and a bit wiser.

My wife and I often use a little phrase to get us through something a bit rough – “Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh.” Most of us could look on their tween and teen years and laugh, if we allow ourselves to laugh at ourselves. If you’ve ever seen those newspaper and magazine stories on what today’s big starts looked like in their teens, you’ll know what I mean. Who was that dork that everybody laughed at in Middle School? Oh yeah, he’s the world’s richest man now. What ever happened to that shy girl we used to make fun of in high school? That’s right she’s the highest paid movie star around, now. I wonder if they ever think back to those days?

So, why take the advice of today’s saying and never forget what it was like back then? Because it will always remind you that you survived what you were sure was going toButterflies kill you back then and help you see how far you’ve come. The teen years for most are the years in which major decisions are made that will greatly impact the rest of your life – whether to go to college or not; and if you do go, what to major in is just one example. For some it is the time of major bad decisions that land them in prison or on a road to ruin or death, but for most it’s just an awkward, vexing, but thoroughly exciting time.  What do you think of when you remember your tween and teen years? Don’t cry; have a good laugh about it; it’s all behind you now.

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