We are all fifteen.

“I realized some bigger dreams of mine.”

“…In your life, you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team. I didn’t know it at fifteen.”

Age is just a number. If you haven’t heard that one yet, you probably haven’t been alive for very long. I think it’s one of the most interesting statements. Like so many other things in this life, age is such a small symbol that carries so much weight in identifying who we are, where we are going and what is expected of the year ahead of us. Don’t believe me? 16. What just flashed through your head? “Sweet 16 ” right? I hope you like this game because there’s another number coming… 21. What flashed through your mind? (If you thought VEGASSSS, we may or may not still be friends 😉 ) Anyway, my point is that there are so many societal norms and expectations we have created around the number of years we have lived on this earth but really, the emotions that we have and the experiences we live through are not so different than the ones we experienced when we were 10 or 15 or 20. We have grown and matured but we still feel joy, pain, sadness, disappointment and peace.
This past weekend marked one month until I turn 25 years old. 25. An age that I can FINALLY rent a car myself instead of being stranded at an airport in Portland by myself waiting for my boss to tell me it’s okay that my company has to dish out an embarrassing amount of money for car insurance because I’m 24 (Long story, for another time and place (called NEVER o’clock in I’mstillembarrassed-Ville) 25. The age of emerging adulthood. Where you are expected to know what you want in life and be in the process of going after it. An age where your personal life should be coming together gloriously and you should be sophisticated and drinking wine after work with your friends. An age of independence, autonomy & freedom.
Confession: 25 for me will be an age in which my favorite song is still called “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift. Did I mention I love Taylor Swift? Haha I won’t focus my entire blog post on this fact because, I’ll probably love her and mention her in every piece of writing I write from now until eternity but the reason I love her and I love this song is that because no matter what age, ethnicity, gender, country you live in, you can relate to the feeling and experiences she writes about. I relate to this song because in some ways, although I’m almost 25, I am still 15. In some ways, we are all still 15. I don’t have any “walk into freshman year of high school” written in my day planner but you bet I take a DEEEEPPPP breath before walking into a corporate meeting at work. I don’t really care if a “senior” says hi to me, but you can bet I’m aware of my insecurities around certain people. Maybe we’re not 15 but we all experience feeling naïve, disappointed and inexperienced. The most relevant part of this song for any person at any age is the line in which she says “back then I swore I was gonna marry him someday but I realized some bigger dreams of mine.” Don’t we all have that thought from time to time? I have it almost every day. The “back then” feeling represents the plans we make for ourselves and where we think we will be in 5, 10, 15 years. “Oh I’ll definitely be married.” “Oh, I’ll definitely have a kid”. “Oh, I’ll definitely leave this company by then or graduate by then…” The list goes on and on. But looking back, the most beautiful reality is that the life you’re living now is greater than the life you planned to live. Not because of the circumstances but because it’s your life. You’ll do things greater than what you’re aiming to do in a year right now. You’ll make more of a difference in others lives. You’ll help others. You’ll make new friends you didn’t foresee making. You’ll accomplish new dreams you never knew you had. But most importantly, you will wake up each day and LIVE. Because isn’t that what life is all about? Living. It sounds trite but I think we forget that sometimes. I forget that all the time. It’s like they say, God laughs at our plans. The best plans aren’t the ones you made when you were 15. The best plans are open hands to the things you will do tomorrow. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis. “There are better things at 25 than any I leave behind” 🙂