My Fifteen Year-old Self

I love Oprah Winfrey.  Most people either love her or hate her.  There’s no in between.  I’m firmly on the side of loving her.  I subscribe to her magazine, and I watch several shows on OWN, her television channel.  Super Soul Sunday is one of my favorite shows.

I read books she recommends. (Well, most of them.  We Were the Mulvaneys?  No.  The Salt of the Earth?  No.  Those are probably the only two books I have ever just quit reading in the middle.)  I always do the 21-day meditation series (serieses? series’?) she does with Deepak Chopra.  Love them.

Photographer, please make sure the lights reflect multiple times in my super cool glasses.
Photographer, please make sure the lights reflect multiple times in my super cool glasses.

Anyway, there’s a question asked in the April issue of O Magazine, “What would your 15-year old self be proud to see that you’ve changed?”  I marked the page, because I thought this was a great question that deserved some thought, and probably a blog post.

Fifteen is an interesting age to ponder.  It’s firmly in the teenage years.  Old enough to have ideas about who you are and what you want out of life, but still too young to do much about it.  It was freshman year of high school, the start of what felt like the most important years of my life.

So, what would that version of Janet be proud to see I’ve changed?  A lot of my thoughts swirl around control of my environment.  Home has always been super important to me.  I grew up in apartments, and we could never change the paint, the carpet, the curtains.  Plus I was a kid, and back then, kids just didn’t have cool rooms like they do now.  I wanted a super cool room.

Teenage Janet would be thrilled to know that I own not one, but two houses.  I mean, I also have two mortgages, and I don’t want to own one of them, but still.   I’d like to think my entire house is super cool.  She would be amazed.  And she’d be super proud that I paint things whenever and however I damn well please.  My laundry room has been both orange and teal blue over the years.  I buy a new comforter when I want to.  She would love that.

Then there are the animals.  She would so love my animals, and she’d be very proud to see me sharing my life with them.  I always wanted pets, and again, the apartment thing, I couldn’t have anything that was not in a bowl or a cage.  My grandfather actually gave me a calico kitten for my fifteenth birthday.  She had to stay outside, and that did not go well for her.  Now I have two spoiled (indoor) cats, and my two beloved dogs.

Hmmm…I also got a Walkman for my fifteenth birthday.  Wow.  That was high tech.  Fifteen year-old Janet would be amazed at my iPhone now, with over 1000 songs on it.  Plus, you can charge it!  No AAA batteries!  Magic.

Oh, my teeth.  She’d be so very proud of my teeth!  I got braces somewhere around then.  Terrible crooked teeth up until then.  And no more perms in my hair.  Strangely, I almost have the exact hair texture now, naturally, as I used to get from Grandma giving me home perms back then.  It’s gotten curlier over the years, but it’s much healthier, and less big and crispy, now.  I have better glasses now too.

We can’t talk about teenage Janet without talking about boys.  I wasn’t allowed to go on dates then, and I desperately wanted to.  I’m honestly not sure what she’d think about my romantic life at 44.  I think she would have thought I’d be married and have kids and just be settled in that area.  She’d be shocked to know I’ve been divorced, engaged again, lived with a couple people, and now live pretty happily alone.  I think she’d be proud to see the life I’ve made for myself, and that I’ve done most of it without the help of a husband.  (Plus I go on dates if I want.  It’s not nearly as much fun as she thought it was going to be.  Maybe the boys just aren’t as cute.  Or I’m not as delusional about it all as I used to be.)

I think she would have hoped I’d have found true love by now.  And you know what?  I have.  A couple times.  Some people never get that.  I’ve had it twice, maybe three times, in my life.  I haven’t given up on finding it again, even better love than I can now imagine.

For the most part, my entire life right now is far beyond the imagination of fifteen-year old Janet.  What about you?  What would your fifteen year-old self be proud to see you’ve changed?

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