• Steve Hanson

Sixteen Again

I don't know about you, but as far as I'm concerned, there isn't much that appeals to me about reliving my youth.

Oh, sure, the fantasy of it has a certain cachet, but the reality of it?

Ehhh...not so much.

But just to be sure, let's break it down.

First, the pro's. Let's start with gravity.

Back in the day, it was our friend. Today, if you own a mirror and have electricity, may I suggest that you turn on a light, and check your reflection. Whether or not you do so while wearing clothing, is entirely up to your own intestinal fortitude, or masochistic preferences.

Second, let's just factor in the lack of financial responsibilities.

Mortgage or rent payments, car payments, insurance, utilities, groceries, credit cards, etc...

Third, FREEDOM!!!!!

Fourth, uhhh, where was I going with this?

Ok, perhaps I need to re-evaluate my own evaluation.

I think that we all can admit that there is something to be said for being young.

What I find most interesting about youth, is that its greatest weakness, is also its greatest strength.

This can can be summed up with just one word: Ignorance.

Not stupidity, ignorance.

When you're young, you simply don't know what it is that you don't know.

We haven't yet felt the full force, of what this life is fully capable of delivering.

So, we tend to be brave. Bold. Unconcerned with looming potential disaster.

We are ten feet tall, and bulletproof.

We take chances, forge our own path, and are not terribly surprised by our accomplishments.

At that age, what we least expect, is failure, because the vast majority of us are not conditioned to believe that there are things in this world that are going to be beyond our grasp.

And then...we are thrown into the deep waters, and told to swim.

And ever so slowly, our perspective begins to change.

And why wouldn't it?

At some point, either sooner or later, for better or worse, reality will strike each and every one of us with the blunt force of a closed fist.

And it hurts. A lot.

It's also necessary. It's how we learn. It's how we mature, and grow up.

Unfortunately, it can also be at this point that many of us get stuck in a rut.

We often become so focused on what not to do, that instead of playing to win, we're playing not to lose.

If our youth can be summed up by ignorance, blissful or not, our later years seem to be defined by a different word.

And that word is, regret.

The woulda's, the coulda's, and the shoulda's.

If you question whether or not that's true, may I present, exhibit A, which is...

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media platform strong enough to support the weight of an opinion, fact, or random, 3 am thought.

There are posts on most any topic, be it political, religious, informative, or observational. There are the silly, the sick and twisted, the self aggrandizing, the oh so serious, and let's not forget, no, let us NOT forget, the blatantly bootylicious.

And by the way, in the interest of full transparency, I myself, am guilty of all of these, minus the "Bootylicious", of course.

But above all, more than anything else, there are posts that are positive and uplifting, which absolutely, is a wonderful thing.

However, upon closer inspection, it's worth wondering just what's inspiring all of these positive vibes.

It's not that I don't think that people are genuine.

I do.

But I do also think that it stems from what most of us feel, which is a tinge of (here it comes) regret.

"Regret for what?", you may ask.

Well, could be a lot of things, I suppose.

But more often than not, I personally believe that it is a restless heart, or a yearning to do or accomplish more in our lives, that is driving these things.

The feeling that we have not lived up to our full potential, but desperately want to.

I don't think that most of us are quite sure how to translate those feelings into action, or are too self-conscious to try (myself sometimes included), so we post messages we hope will inspire others, or serve as reminders for ourselves that we are capable of more.

I am aware now, more than ever, that no one gets out alive.

So, I am trying hard to go back in time, just a LITTLE bit.

To be sixteen again, at least in certain ways.

I'm trying to look at the at the world, through a fresh set of eyes.

To acknowledge the little miracles that surround me every day.

So, I have set down my cheaters, and put on the rose colored spectacles.

I'm trying to be a little less jaded, and a lot more open to new possibilities.

That could mean personal achievements,

or simply being a better steward of the world.

Really, it's probably both. Those things don't have to be mutually exclusive.

I'm in competition with absolutely no one, other than Father Time,

and that other gravity stricken old coot staring back at me from the mirror.

If you're reading this, I encourage you to take a chance, throw a little caution to the wind,

and get in touch with your inner teenager.

I'm not talking about living with reckless abandon, but rather, remembering what you're living for.

After all: A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

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