Friday, September 11, 2015

What's on YOUR flower?

Sometimes, something will make you stop and think out loud.

I happened to see a friend post on Facebook a picture of something her middle-school-aged daughter did on the first day of class.  Each child was given a printed picture of a daisy, with their picture in the middle.  On each petal (there were about eight) the students wrote what they were interested in.  I think my friend's daughter had things like dancing, acting, lacrosse...the wholesome activities of a young lady on her way to the top.

And then, after enjoying the thought of seeing people grow up to be so splendid, I started to think about what I would have written on my petals at her age...and now.

What strikes me most is that, while I may have added a certain layer of sophistication, I am pretty much the same goofy goober I was at 14.  I still like the same music, many of the same books, and most of the same TV shows and movies. Now as then, I obsess over grammar and spelling and historical accuracy, and could not care less about people who try to impress me with their possessions and importance.

Teenagers are more inclined to take risks, because they haven't had the experience that makes older people think twice before trying to leap from one roof to another ten feet away. On the other hand, some adults would do well to throw a little caution to the wind now and then and take a chance on love or lottery tickets.  You never know...

As teens, we sometimes feel the need to give in to peer pressure, and as fully-realized adults, we feel more confident about making our own decisions.  The difference is that when you're 14, you vote for the most popular or best-looking kid for class president because "everyone else is," and as adults, you can make clear choices about whom to vote for because the vote is not taken by counting raised hands in homeroom.

I once told a young lady who was in fifth grade to be sure to look at what the guys in her class laughed at that year, because it would be the same stuff they'll laugh at when they file for Social Security. It's true.

The point is making sure to keep that sense of humor, that authentic childish sense of wonder and amusement and pleasure at being part of this world. I promise you, if you keep a little of your 14-year-old self within you, you will never become an old grumplepuss.

My petals are reading, writing, watching sports, taking my daily 6,000 step walk, laughing, staying in touch with friends old and friends new, playing with the cats and being happily married.  How about yours?

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