“We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top. In our youth our hearts were touched with fire.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Okay, so Holmes was referencing the impact of the Civil War on an entire generation of Americans (as any good Ken Burns fan no doubt already knows).
Surprise, surprise: that’s not exactly where I’m going with this post. Instead, I’d like to start with the positive side of adolescence. And then let’s see where we go from there.
Too many people knock teenagers because they’re… well, not adults yet. True, they’re often irresponsible. And yeah, they often lack a crucial awareness of life’s practicalities. But you know what? That’s kind of the beauty of that age. Adolescents are dreamers. They’re idealists. They’re so energetic and excited about all the opportunities they’re sure life’s going to throw their way. As a high school teacher, I see this all the time. It’s one of the best parts of the job.
Frankly, I miss that spirit inside myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some creep-o-saurus who wants to relive and/or improve upon her high school “glory days.” You could not pay me to relive the bumps of adolescence over again. Also, I’ve enjoyed every stage of my life and continue to grow, believing that the best is yet to come.
That I’m-an-adult-now awareness of things like health insurance costs? It tends to have a dampening effect on one’s starry-eyed optimism. Who has time to dream about next year–or even next week–when there are papers to grade and towels to fold? I can’t dream big! I have to pay the phone bill.
And yet… I was a pretty ballsy seventeen-year-old. I willfully upset my parents and took on some pretty hefty debt to attend a college cross-country… on a campus, mind you, I had never seen until I got on a plane with two suitcases and a whole bunch of faith. I just had a gut feeling and a strong conviction that I should “go with it.” And you know what? It’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
That girl is still living inside me somewhere. Perhaps it’s time we became reacquainted.
Tsh over at Simple Mom wrote a post earlier this week reminding us all to dream big. So, yeah. Tonight I’m going to listen to some blues music, have a bit of cocoa, and dust off a few of my old dreams. Where is my gut actually telling me to go with my life? And how do I actually get there?
A question I haven’t asked myself in far too long. A question I’d like to ask all of my dear readers, as well! Do share, please.