If I could talk face-to-face with sixth grade me, she would bluntly tell me: “You should be doing more with your life.”
And I have thought about this endlessly — because of teen movies, I feel that I should be doing more: socializing with anyone who crosses my path, making reckless decisions, falling in love and experiencing immeasurable heartbreak and driving mindlessly until I can not differentiate if it is early morning or approaching midnight.
Instead, I am hunched over at my desk, studying for my classes that keep me from achieving my teenage dreams.
Is this what my life is supposed to be? Why is it that I am busy dealing with my hand cramping from writing too much, while simultaneously urging myself to stay awake for another hour more when I am supposed to peak during my teenagerhood?
I want to live — experience things and make mistakes, then come out of the chaos as a better person. After all, that is what all the movies seem to scream at me.
Am I an abnormality? Am I wasting my years away? Will I ever have the time to pursue the perfect idealistic dreams formulated through films and books? Why haven’t I had my first kiss yet, or snuck out of the house and drive recklessly
Is the image I have dreamed for myself so detached from reality that I cannot realize that my life does not end at teenagerhood?
It is scary to think that in a couple of years, I will be considered a young adult. That thought has been the foundation of boiling resentment; it feels like life is restricting me from being a teenager, and in a couple of years, the only one I can be able to blame is myself.
Then I remember a quote from Mr. Rogers: “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”
So gently, I tell myself to abandon my resentments. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that I am still living. My everyday life is the progression and change I so desperately seek, and that should be enough for me.
Teenagehood is not the end of my life, and it will never be.
My story is not defined by the standards I uphold for myself: I do not need the perfect teenage years because in the end, I will make mistakes. I will have boring days and dreary days, alongside days where I will fall in love and be so inexplicably happy that it will feel like I am the main character of my own movie; I just need to wait for them to happen.
I do not need to rush life, because life knows what it wants for me.
Though my life may not be the teen movies sixth-grade me envisioned, I know she would be proud of me. With her round, dark green glasses, she would hug me and tell me she is proud of me.
And truly, that is all I will ever need.