A 16 Year Old Turns 29Author: davidberry | Filed under: Columns
On my drive home from the grocery store, I had a moment when the 16 year old version of me appeared out of nowhere, made a brief cameo and seemed, well, kind of impressed by the newly-minted 29-year-old version of me.
I had just purchased groceries for myself with my own money, leaving the store at 9:30 p.m. without having to explain to my parents where I’d been. Then, I put the bags in my car and drove them back to my apartment. That I own. By myself. And then I blasted rap music throughout my apartment when I got home because that’s what I wanted to do.
And the whole time, the 16-year-old me was like “holy crap, dude, we turned out even better than we thought we would!”
I don’t stop to look back too often, at least not to flatter myself, but it happened tonight.
And in that instance, I didn’t compare myself to what I see around me; I compared myself to what I saw within me when I was a teenager.
When I was 16, I busted my ass to save all of my tip money to buy my first car – a 1989 Ford Mustang – and no, not the V8 GT; it was the 4-cylinder version that had speed that matched my sprinting skills.
And I poured myself into it. Hand washing it every couple of days, replacing the hubcaps with something a bit cooler than what had come from the factory, polshing the dash with Armor All, and waxing it until its midnight blue paint shined as bright as – well, as bright as it possibly could for being 11 years old at the time.
In my eyes, this was what life was about. I owned something of value and no one could take it away from me. I worked hard for it and I felt a tremendous amount of pride for having done so.
Ironically, 13 years later, I have a lot more and, on paper, it’s a lot more impressive. To put it in perspective, 16-year-old David would be losing his mind if he woke up to what 29-year-old David currently has.
Do I have the best of everything? Not even close. But I never thought I’d have even this much, and that’s pretty cool.
I wish I could talk to the 16-year-old version of me, and tell him that in 8 years, he’d have a Master’s degree. 16′s head would explode. A Master’s degree? Did that mean I was a lawyer or doctor or something?
And that he’d be living in Miami. On the freaking beach, no less. “You’re kidding me, right? I’m going to live on Miami Beach? In my own apartment? Holy crap. I’ve never even been to Miami. And what’s life like now?”
I’d tell him that it’s nothing – nothing – like he’d have planned for himself. And that he’d be blown away by how much he did know then, and how much he didn’t know, too…