Daily Prompt: Sweet Sixteen When you were 16, what did you think your life would look like? Does it look like that? Is that a good thing?
Really, how far into the future does a sixteen year old girl dare to gaze? I don’t remember having any lofty aspirations about my future or any definite long-term goals. The short-term was more than enough to keep me as completely stressed out as only a teenager has the energy to be.
If my sixteen year old self had drawn up a list of things I desperately wanted out of life, I expect it would have looked something like this:
1. Get drivers license.
2. Borrow brothers car.
3. Find a boyfriend who looks like Donovan.
4. Let hair grow super long.
5. Get through second year of highschool with marks of 85% and up.
6. Go on a car date.
7. Be seriously kissed.
8. Learn how to roller skate.
9. Get a summer job.
10. Buy some nice clothes.
11. Have a clear complexion and perfect (PERFECT!) make up. Every day.
12. Wear panty hose with no runs or snags or holes.
13. Figure out how to dance without looking like an idiot.
14. Sit at the back of every class and pop glasses on in emergency situations only when no one is looking.
15. Avoid all boys with agricultural backgrounds and even the slightest chance of having a farming future.
16. Think up a really good reason for missing church and convince mom of its validity.
17. Remember to shave legs
18. Never ever miss a homework assignment.
19. Buy enough records to fulfill membership agreement with Columbia Records and then quit before going broke.
20. Stop smiling so much, because it’s making weird crease marks on your face.
There’s something to be said for making attainable goals, because I was able to check off every one of these objectives in my sixteenth year, right down to the Donovan-like boyfriend and getting seriously kissed. Both of which scared me half to death.
When I heard a rumor that classmates thought I was a bit stuck up I decided to start smiling again. If I’d worn my glasses I would have been able to recognize people from a distance greater than 3 feet, and perhaps that would have made me appear more friendly. But the truth is I was very self conscious about wearing my glasses, and being shy and half blind can easily be misconstrued as conceit. I was actually a very nice person, even if I wasn’t all that deep.
It’s impossible to say if my life has become what I wanted it to be then, because I had no clear vision of it beyond getting through high school and living in a city someday at that point. Maybe I’ve never set the bar high enough, or been ambitious enough, or sufficiently driven and determined to do great things. But I’ve also never really been disappointed in myself either, or dissatisfied with how things have played out. Is that a good thing? I think it is.