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Seventeen Going On Eighteen

Just when I felt certain that it took traveling across the world to discover myself, I found that maybe I have been hiding here all along. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I dug around in my childhood bedroom and uncovered my journal from the summer before college. Humorous and sentimental, yes. I stirred up quite a bit of trouble at the end of that summer that I had forgotten about. But perhaps most startling for me was my extreme level of self-awareness at the ripe age of 17. Apparently I knew myself better at the age of seventeen than I do ten years later, which is a disconcerting revelation for me. I'm just starting to process what that might mean. I even made some predictions about the "me" I would become. Some very far off, some right on the ball. Regardless, it is an amazing experience to reintroduce oneself to one's self. So here, I share some of my less-personal reflections from that summer...to remind myself that there are pieces of my self hiding all around me, waiting to be discovered. Or perhaps, rediscovered?

Just when I felt certain that it took traveling across the world to discover myself, I found that maybe I have been hiding here all along. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I dug around in my childhood bedroom and uncovered my journal from the summer before college. Humorous and sentimental, yes. I stirred up quite a bit of trouble at the end of that summer that I had forgotten about. But perhaps most startling for me was my extreme level of self-awareness at the ripe age of 17. Apparently I knew myself better at the age of seventeen than I do ten years later, which is a disconcerting revelation for me. I'm just starting to process what that might mean. I even made some predictions about the "me" I would become. Some very far off, some right on the ball. Regardless, it is an amazing experience to reintroduce oneself to one's self. So here, I share some of my less-personal reflections from that summer...to remind myself that there are pieces of my self hiding all around me, waiting to be discovered. Or perhaps, rediscovered?


19 June 1999
I am a normal teenage American girl. I like music on the radio, like the Backstreet Boys, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and more recently, Phil Collins. I like the sun on warm summer days. I obsess about my body too much, buy overpriced jeans, and want a tattoo - just to add rebellion to my life. You see, I am not a very bad girl. My key moments of adventure include illegally going to the casino, taking a Breathalyzer (no need to add that it was only to make sure I could drive the drunk girl's car home), and an incident involving a toilet and a toothbrush on spring break. No drugs. No sex. No rock n roll, well, at least not at incredibly high decibels. But that doesn't mean I haven't had a good time. I've met some amazing people. I've danced outside in the middle of a sunshower. I've stuck my head out of the top of a moonroof going 80 mph. I've lived, just a little. I am actually very satisfied with myself so far. My regrets could only be listed on one hand, and I have room for more. There are things I haven't done, though, too. I haven't walked the floors of a cathedral in Italy. I have never found the end of a rainbow. I have never been swept off my feet only to find I never step foot on the ground again. I am saving some of the best things for better times, when I will appreciate them for all they are worth.
I do not know that much about myself yet...I do not know what I specifically want in life, either. Right now I'm reading All Too Human by George Stephanopoulos. I find myself jealous of him because he is such a powerful writer. Not only that he can write well but that he has so much passion in his words. He has experienced so much. Like this sentence, "The rest of the day I wandered through Khartoum wondering if this was what a real revolution was like. The air was charged with happiness and hope." Oh, to know such things. What I want are experiences. Experiences that I could write about. A passion. Something I could do seven days a week and want to do more.

22 June 1999
A true friend never leaves one's life, anyhow. And if Missy is not a true friend, then let it be said that I have no true friendships. I like to think of moving on to college in this way: My best friends, the most influential people in my life - the best parts of them, I will bring with me. And I will share these things with more people, who will share them with others, and the best parts of my best friends will shine through in the people all around me. That thought comforts me.

22 June 1999
What's with people who say, "just friends"? Is a friend not the greatest gift in all of life? I am that true love is wonderful, but what is it without friendship? Can true love be so far superior to true friendship? I mean, when people say "we're just friends", what do they think they're saying? People who say this do not give themselves enough credit. They completely sell both of themselves short. I think that so many people underestimate the value of a true friend. I am one of the lucky ones. I know what I have and I am ever so grateful for this. I have been blessed.