The other day I was watching Zac Efron in the movie “17 Again” and I remember thinking, what would I do if I were given a chance to rewrite my fate by going back in time to my days in high school. The chance to be “17 Again.”
For some reason, I have a thing for high school movies. I can never get enough of them. Perhaps, I like watching people grow up. I was a quiet kid at school. I wasn’t part of a big group. Average in studies, out of the spotlight, polite, and rarely ever on stage. I was almost everything that would define a “Miss Invisible.”
At times, I feel there is a teenage ghost inside me that keeps crawling out, trying to become everything I wasn’t at school — trying to become a seventeen-year-old once again.
Everyone has regrets, right? Something they wish they had done. Or something they wish they had done better. Or maybe even something they wish they had never done at all. But thankfully, I have none. No regrets at all. Because life for me is better now. Everything I am today is because of my past. Not that I am a superstar, but I am happier today.
I don’t want to go back and change my poor Math scores or change the people who occasionally made fun of me. I don’t want to go back and change the “frenemies ” (enemies in disguise of friends) in my life, or the fights I had with them. Or stop myself from falling hard in love at high school. Or erase my big dreams of becoming a journalist and a writer someday. Because even if I was a dreamer or invisible back then, I was closest to myself. I knew what I wanted so clearly and I wanted to grow up soon to become that.
That was then, and today, at times, I wonder the whole purpose of my life. At times I miss being the seventeen-year-old who had great dreams and greater strength. So even though I don’t want to change anything in my past, if I do get a chance to go back, perhaps I might change something.
Or maybe I would still do everything exactly the way I did before. I would still be so quiet that I could hear the voice in my head speak to me, telling me stories to write about. I would still choose to be alone enough to be drawn to books, songs and music. I would still choose to read out the news in the morning assembly at school even though my heart would beat so hard as if it were racing against light. I would still choose the same friends and the same guy to crush on. I would still scribble my thoughts and dreams in my journal every night.
The best thing is, so much of what I wrote in those journals actually happened! I graduated from high school and I have a happier life now. It doesn’t look exactly the way I had imagined. Of course, I didn’t marry my high school crush. Not even close! But there is this certain happiness that comes from knowing that you’ve overcome your teenage fears to become a stronger adult.
A sense of pride that comes from knowing that you were busy with your playful sleepovers at your friend’s house when everyone else was sleeping around; that when everyone around you was invited to booze parties, you had already pledged never to drink. And especially never to drink and drive.
Maybe back then I didn’t know the choices I had made were the right ones, and maybe I didn’t even know how important they were. However, what I am proud of is that I had chosen to be around righteous people.
Invisible or not, I did it. I grew up. And now there’s no going back.
Maybe some fine day that teenage ghost inside me will die a natural death. But if I ever get a chance to be seventeen again, I would perhaps look at myself in the mirror of that room I had spent most of my childhood in and say: “You were a good kid. You turned out all right.”