In case you missed my sappy Facebook post (truly, I’d like to believe that the viewership of this website extends because the confines of Orange County) my youngest sister, Rosemary, turned seventeen yesterday.
Though I have two “younger” sisters, I was only old enough to remember Rosemary being born. It’s startling to think that I’ve been conscious and aware of her growing and experiencing life since the moment she was born. The occurences she’s lived through are all ones that I can distinctly remember also experiencing at one point in time.
When I think about what I was like when I was seventeen, I don’t think that there’s a lot of difference between me then and me now. Writing and reading still serve as my creative outlets, and I’m still super passionate about my friends. However, I do think that I’m not as big a pushover. (Still a pushover, sure, but not as big a one, and that my friends, is progress). I also think I’ve got a stronger sense of self, which probably contributes to the less-of-a-pushover-thing. When I think about what I’d like to tell myself at seventeen, I am reminded of all the times I spread myself too thin for people who weren’t necessarily deserving. And of the troubles I felt when I sense that a friendship was changing or slipping away. I wish I could tell myself that the changing of friendships is natural–not everyone is going to be your friend forever, but those that are should be cherished and recognized.
After much reflection, I asked my Facebook community to reflect on their teenage-hood. Here’s what they said:
What’s One Thing You Wish You Knew At Seventeen?
Your weight doesn’t matter. –Hayley Caligor
I wish I Kerry and Eileen [sister and mom] were my best friends of all time. Maybe I woulda been nicer to them when I actually lived with them. –Suzanne Jacobetz
What other people think about you doesn’t matter nearly as much as finding your own happiness and being confident and proud of who you are. –Louise Puma
I wish I knew how much I didn’t know. –Meaghan Smith
I wish I knew how uncool I actually was. –Connor Mallard
You don’t have to find your soul mate in high school. –Sam Ferretti
I wish I knew that you can’t constantly compare your success to the success of others around you because it gets you nowhere; everyone experiences their journey differently and at their own pace. –Kathleen Farrell
Now, dear reader, what would you tell yourself at seventeen?