I love Sharon Van Etten’s song “Seventeen”, if you haven’t heard it. Give it a listen. I believe the beauty of art, any art, is in the expression and interpretation. On the one hand it’s what the artist meant or felt and then there is what the audience will experience. The feelings it may bring you and the thoughts it may invoke.
The song makes me think of being that age and what I would say to myself.
I turned 17 at the start of my senior year, it would prove to be a highly memorable, not always in the best way, year. Senior year felt like standing on a precipice, standing on the cliff of childhood and looking out at adulthood on the horizon. It was intimidating and exciting. I felt like all my childhood I just wanted to be older, to be an adult. I remember being a kid having dinner with parents at a restaurant and wanting so badly to be able to drink a cool margarita with a pineapple wedge and cherry on top. Suddenly, my margarita dreams seemed so close.
The day I turned 17 my dad came home and gave me a Seventeen magazine. I thought it was so sweet that he thought of me when he saw it and thought to buy it for me. My dad would surprise me with a car for my high school graduation, it was a brand new green Mitsubishi Eclipse. If you knew me back then you probably remember that car, it was beautiful and I had so many memories with it.
I’m 34 years old now and age 17 was half of my life ago. If I could, I’d tell seventeen year old me many things. Not that I would necessarily listen but it would be worth a shot.
I’d tell her to follow her gut when she knew that a relationship was over, to stop living in fear and let go. I would remind her that being in a partnership doesn’t have to be part of your identity and it’s perfectly ok to be alone. I would advise that you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change for themselves, you are nobody’s mother or nurse. I’d stress that every time a difficult change comes along it’s always followed by growth and a step up. I’d implore that age seventeen is merely the beginning to so many opportunities in her life. I’d tell her not to rush on growing up.
I’d remind her to kiss her parents and thank them every chance she had.