My Life

Fifteen, Going on Twenty-Two

I had this dream last night. It, like most of my dreams, was a strange one. I’ll give you a quick overview:

I was going back to high school. The dream starts off with me at my childhood home, and the bus driver just drives by, leaving me. I start to call my aunt, but then I remember that I can drive now. So, I hop in my car and drive to school. Next, I’m inside my high school seeking to purchase a parking pass, though I can’t seem to remember where I parked my car. As I’m purchasing my parking pass, I look out the window and see my car in the teacher’s parking lot. I’m hoping that I won’t get a ticket. The lady who is selling tickets is explaining to me where it is acceptable for students to park their cars. I ask if they’re the same students lots that they were in 2009, because I was in high school then. The lady says no, that they’ve restructured the lots.

Next, I’m back in my freshman English class. This is where the dream gets interesting. I enter the classroom and see everyone who I went to high school with. I’m relieved to see that I’m not the only 2010 graduate there. My English teacher greets me, and I sit down. We then all go around and say where we’ve come back from. Most students say they got into town just a day ago. I say I’ve been in town for a week.

Then, the teacher says:

“Now, let’s get down to business: When you were 15, you were most likely dreaming about the age you are right now: 22.” 

I instantly burst into tears. The teacher asks us if reality is anything like in our fantasies. Then, he focuses on me and asks why I’m crying.

Words will not form from my mouth. And then in the midst of my tears, I start laughing.

It’s almost nostalgic. When you’re 15, you have your whole future ahead of you. I would give anything to have a chance to talk some sense into my 15-year-old self.

When i woke, I found myself wondering: What WERE my fantasies like when I was 15? When I was 15, I had no idea whatsoever what I wanted to do with my life. I was 15 when my Sims obsession started. I would spend endless hours in my room playing that stupid game. I didn’t go out. I didn’t really care about the future, either.

They say your teen years are the best and worst of your life. Personally, I feel like I wasted my teen years. I wasn’t interested in becoming a better person. I wasn’t interested in learning from my mistakes. I missed so many opportunities, because I just didn’t care. The teen years are about exploring, making mistakes, and learning from them. I was afraid to make mistakes. I’ve always been afraid to take risks. At that age, I wanted everything handed to me.

The age I fantasized about most during my teen years was, in fact, 22. I imagined myself in love. I imagined myself getting married, having a family. I expected my prince charming to just waltz into my life, and everything would unfold on its own.

Life’s not like that, though. In order to make something happen, you need to make it happen. There are no handouts in life. I was so wrong then, and I would give anything to do it all over. But there are no do overs in life.

So, if you’re 15, enjoy it. Get your hands dirty. Take risks. Be fearless. Don’t make the same mistake I did, because then you’ll be 22, realizing how many opportunities you missed because you were too scared.

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