When I Was Fourteen…

Looking back is a bittersweet experience...

Looking back is a bittersweet experience…


When I was fourteen, I knew where my life was going. I was going to University, and then either to law or med school.

I was never going to have kids.

I’d discovered the magic that was a~ha, and was their biggest fan.

I totally rocked acid wash and stone washed jeans. Painted on, with zippers at the ankles. And mini skirts. And my favourite shirt had studs and rhinestones on it.

I’d met a new girl at school, who was an incredible artist. We became good friends, and she made me a 15th birthday cake with the keyboardist from a~ha on it.

I thought that 30 was probably old. 40 definitely was.

Aging, death, ill health…none of that was my problem. It would never happen to me.

I was scared a lot, but hid it. I hated going home, and knew everything was my fault. I believed my parents when I was told how stupid, fat, useless and lazy I was. I believed I deserved every punishment I got, no matter what marks it left.

That was then.

This is now.

I didn’t go to University. I did work in health care, and loved it.

I have more kids than average, and am glad and grateful for it.

That new girl? She’s still my best friend. What’s more, she’s shared her family with me, and her parents and her brother have become my family as well. The poor buggers.

a~ha? Well, all my kids love ‘Take On Me’. It’s still one of the coolest music videos ever, in my opinion.

30 isn’t old. Nor is 40. 80 probably is.

And nobody is ever immune to the passing of time, the bad bounces of fate, and where there’s life, there’s turbulence. And hope.

Most importantly?

I’ve learned that I’m not who I told I was. I’ve learned that I’m not stupid, useless and lazy. And I prefer the term, ‘luscious’ to ‘fat’, thankyouverymuch. I’ve learned that I’m not to blame for what other people do, that everyone has the right to be safe, physically and emotionally. I’ve learned that I’m a good and decent person, who both loves, and is worthy of love.

I’ve learned that, while dreams of youth can fade, so can the miseries. That sometimes, the beliefs you grow up with are best let go, that something that seems so right, that makes so much sense, can crumble to dust with the passage of time, and that can be a gift in itself.

I think I might have finally learned who I am…the good, the bad, the flawed. I regret the mistakes I’ve made, and some of them leave a bitter, rancid taste. I’ve learned to appreciate, and even celebrate my accomplishments, and to enjoy the sweetness of the moments I have, that they are fleeting, so much more so than the bad. I’ve learned that time doesn’t heal all wounds, but you can get trapped in the wounds of the past, and it can rob you of the present, and the future.

I’ve learned that no matter where my head and heart are, time keeps moving, faster than I ever would’ve believed possible.

I’ve learned that as much as I wish things had been different for that fourteen year old I once was, I can do my very best to ensure that my kids have better memories of their fourteenth year.

And I hope, and pray, that they find the same friendship I did, at such a young age. That they find a best friend that sustains them over the years, who they can laugh and cry with, who’ll pat them on the back, and then kick their butt, sometimes even in the same conversation.

And, I might have learned that stone washed, acid washed jeans might not have been as cool as we all thought.


What have you learned since you were fourteen? What are your strongest memories from that age?

This was written via a writing prompt, “When I Was Fourteen…” from Finish The Sentence Friday, cohoosted by Finding Ninee, Diagnosed and Still Okay, and Kiss My List

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When I Was Fourteen… — 25 Comments

  1. I’m glad you learned so much–and I don’t think anyone can deny that the video for “Take On Me” is one of the coolest ever.

    Fourteen is a year I’d prefer not to remember. It was my first year of high school. Not the worst year, but not the best one either. There was a lot of adjusting. I also remember that, having been among the youngest in my Boy Scout troop, it was the first time a bunch of younger kids–eleven year-olds joined. And I made it my job to make sure they had a good time and were included in everything. It was a role I’d play throughout my Scouting career.

  2. I love this! This is the post I WANTED to write for this sentence prompt. You said it all perfectly — how none of us ended up with the lives we planned for, how the things that seemed so important back then have faded a bit, and how totally awesome that A-ha video really was.

    • I never got to see them in concert. *pout*

      And I had THREE of their albums. Yep. ‘Hunting High And Low’, ‘Scoundrel Days’ and ‘Stay On These Roads’.

      Of course, they’re all gone now. *sniffle*

  3. I was just thinking about this today on the walk home from dropping my son off at school. A 14 year old girl from our neighborhood killed herself yesterday. I’m trying to figure out how you explain to kids that the intense overwhelming feelings of being 14 don’t last forever and how much things change and improve over the years. Looking back on 14 when you’re 40 it’s amazing how clearly you see everything. I love your humorous look back.

  4. Wonderful that you made a friend and had an extended family to go along with. Also happy to hear that you had children, if the verbal abuse at home was the reason you didn’t want to. Those harsh words are certainly a lot to overcome and too much to take when you’re 14.

    • For me, it wasn’t just verbal abuse.

      No, the idea of taking care of kids, instead of being a Dr or lawyer just didn’t appeal, LOL!

      Thankfully, sometimes, with age does indeed come wisdom 😉

  5. A-ha (swoon…wait a minute I’ll be back….)

    Okay I’m here, thankfully not wearing stonewashed anything or zippers on my ankles. I’m sorry that your 14 was so abusive but grateful you met your 14YO friend who made life suck a little less.

    • Actually, she’s a cpl of yrs older than I. That she had anything to do w/a kid 2 yrs younger at that age says a lot for her facination w/weird ppl, LOL

  6. Totally agree about “Take on Me” being the coolest video, possibly ever. You’re lucky to have learned so much and come so far since 14. It must have been difficult being in that situation, but you sound really positive now! That’s really inspiring!

  7. Definitely one of the best videos ever. Glee did a take on it this past season, and my daughter wanted to fast forward through it. No way!

  8. That a-ha video is definitely one of the coolest ever. Ever, ever. I love where you went with this post – life really does turn out so differently than we imagine it might. Acid washed jeans! Oh swoon. They were cool. They really really were. Great lessons learned from your past. I’m so glad you linked this up for Finish the Sentence Friday!

  9. Yep – coolest video ever. Love that song. Am boppin’ away to it right now. Hats off to you for choosing to rise above your 14 year-old life and choose to live your best life now. That’s really what it’s all about, I think.

    • I’d have preferred to get here with less (emotional) scars, but you do what you do with what you’ve got, and hope and pray you don’t screw up too badly.
      And a~ha is a quick pick me up for crappy days 😉

  10. I love the way you remember back and then recount what you did and didn’t do, how you arrived where you are despite the challenges. You’re so right about the importance of having that one good friend, especially at that age, but always. Any chance you have a picture of that cake?

  11. My life at 14 was pretty good. I like what a previous poster said about arriving where you are despite challenges. My dad once told me “If I didn’t have the history I’ve got, I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’m not glad for what happened, but I like who I am now.”

    • That’s what I’ve been working towards, Katie. Liking who I am now. Accepting that. Some days are easier than others, but I figure working on it is a good thing.

  12. This really resisted with me. On Saturday I was talking to my therapist that at 30 aka 5 years ago I had finally found who I was, I was happy, had made peace with my life etc.

    About 6 months ago everything changed in my life turned totally upside down and I’m in the process or redefining who I am.

    It’s such a hard process and it’s hard to look back at younger years teens,early 20s, late 20s, early 30s when I was content. Last year when I started making future plans again and now when those plans are gone and I’m starting again……next time I’m going to dream bigger and make those dreams happen

    • I’m sorry you’re going through a hard time right now. One thing I try to keep a focus on is that the only difference btwn a ‘dream’ and a ‘goal’ is a plan.

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