When I think about being 14 years old, I think about the tacky, fluorescent beauty of the 80’s, about unreciprocated crushes, and about finding out that my mom was having an affair with my brother’s hockey coach.
It’s funny how memories that happened so long ago can feel like yesterday and also like the fog of another person’s life we shed the skin from long ago.
At 14, I didn’t yet know that truly living is much too vague of an idea to ever own. I assumed that by 30, which was as old as I could imagine, I’d be running my own company, have a couple of kids, a man who adored me, and know all of life’s answers to the questions still forming in my teenage heart. I assumed that I’d know what truly living was. That I’d be doing it.
14 was one of those years that, when looked at through Risky Business Ray Bans, too much clashing jewelry, and the word scrunchy describing both my hair-tie and my socks – feels like perfection, now.
Then, though, at actual 14, it pretty much sucked. I mean, I was thankful to finally have a bra and had gotten my braces off, but man, talk about awkward.
Being a freshman in high school sucked. At least for me. Having not yet overcome my intense shyness, and convinced that by having feathered hair and blue eyeshadow meant that I’d blend and be accepted clashed with the fact that for the first two months of high school, my friend Carol and I ate near the lockers in the dorky building, located furthest away from the cool one we’d hang in, senior year.
It meant navigating 981 students, all our age, and all who seemed cooler, more together, and more at home in the sea of the stinky cesspool that teenagers who are 14 create, no matter where they are.
It also meant my friend Carol, not eating alone, and not ever feeling alone, even though my mom was the crazy one back then.
It meant that every single Friday night, I made money babysitting two kids that were simultaneously annoying and amazing.
It meant that there were cracks in my perfect suburban upbringing that prepared me for the cracks in this life.
Being 14 meant power, and boys.
It meant independence and earning my own money, even if that happened from babysitting the kids who knew more than I did and drove me crazy by begging to have 10 more minutes before bedtime and then telling their parents on me when I let them stay up.
Being 14 also meant that I was invincible.
I miss that feeling. The feeling of life just beginning.
And I miss the 80’s. Billy Idol and concerts and Metallica and all of it so fresh and new and meaningful. I miss being 14 and lying on my floor, absorbed in the music.
It’s been too long since I’ve stared at my ceiling, eyes closed, absorbed by the power of notes and voice and lyrics and the away.
But I’m also really happy that I’m no longer 14, and hormonal, and wondering how it’s possible to carve a place for myself in this world. While being in my 40’s, raising a kindergartner has its own challenges, but at least I now know that blue eyeshadow will NEVER be back, no matter what the covers of the magazines say at the grocery store.
That the friends and the boys who mattered then aren’t the ones that matter for always, and that an unplanned life tends to unfold as it should.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where we gather and finish a sentence. This week’s hosts:
Me (Kristi from Finding Ninee)
And your co-hosts, Kerri from Diagnosed and Still Okay (this week’s sentence thinker upper) and Dana from Kiss My List. Join us?