My stepdaughter turns 16 tomorrow, and our family surprised her by dressing up as ourselves at 16 for her birthday party over the weekend. It brought back waves of nostalgia.
What a year 16 was! I traveled to Spain, France, and Italy on a school trip over the summer. I got my license and drove my mom’s mini van every chance I had. I loved my first job scooping ice cream at Maggie Moo’s and spent all my paychecks at American Eagle. After much begging, my parents gave me my first cell phone.
In junior year English class, I tried to memorize the Old English prologue to “The Canterbury Tales” and can now admit many years later that I failed to do so… literally, I failed the most infamous assignment of 11th grade. I thought I would never recover at the time, but not being able to quote Chaucer has had shockingly little impact on my life. I loved singing in Glee Club, being on the yearbook staff, and volunteering with Key Club. I hated Latin class. And math class. And chemistry most of all.
I fell in love for the first time, quickly and naïvely, and was devastated when it didn’t work out. Before prom, I slipped and tumbled all the way down the staircase in front of my date and my family.
I loved spending time with my youth group at church and hanging out with friends. The best show on tv was “The O.C.,” and you couldn’t tell me differently. I wanted so badly for time to fly so I could leave for college, but now I know that time is a thief.
I also understand now that at 16, there’s no way to know how your life will unfold. Isn’t that the best part and the worst part at the same time?