An Ode to my Adolescent Self

I have seen a lot of posts about “all the things I wish I knew when I was younger”, “things I wish I could tell my teenage self”… you get the idea. I do wish that I could go back in time and give my past self couple of big hugs here and there, but in all honesty, when I think of teenage Isabel, I mostly feel longing.

I miss the long afternoons after class taking pictures, reading, drawing… doing things just because. Just because they felt good, just because I had something I wanted to express and I wasn’t very sure how to do it. I was fascinated by anything old and nostalgic, and felt quite saddened by life and the human condition on a regular basis.

So yes, I was an angsty teenager, what a stereotype, but I was also much more connected to my creativity and my emotions, much more capable of feeling and creating, and of understanding others at a deeper level. Nowadays I rarely do things that don’t follow a purpose: work, work-out, clean the house… Even when it comes to my creative outlets, I expect a reward from creating them: pictures for instagram, christmas cards for my family, essays for my blog.

I must say that when I was younger, and was I was creating for no particular reason, just to get things off my chest, I still felt a sense of purpose. I didn’t know what I was going to be “when I grew up” so I saw it as a way to get to know myself, to understand what helped me expressed that sadness I felt in my chest, secretly hoping that one day I would turn out to be great at some of them (unfortunately, although pretty good at drawing, and decent at writing and photography, I was never great; never naturally gifted at any of them).

Maybe that’s what’s missing. Maybe as a 26 year old I feel that is too late to discover what my creativity can do, what I could potentially be great at. Maybe at 26 I already feel too old for all that, and think that the course of my life is already determined. Is that something too sad to put on the internet? Or is it good that I am realising this mindset of mine already, so I can fight against it?

One of my recurring life dreams when I was a teenager was to be a writer. I fantasized about the hours spent alone at home with a cup of tea in front of my computer, watching characters grow under my fingertips. I wrote a couple of short novels (that now make me cringe reaaally hard when I look back at them, but still!), and hid them from all my friends and family, afraid of their judgement. Now, I try to sit in front of an empty page long enough to write this post, and I need to stand up three times and check my phone another ten.

Maybe this melancholy, and this heightened creativity came with age, and cannot be reproduced now, but I am willing to try. I am going to try and make the world around me a little quieter, to carve some time that doesn’t need to be productive, that doesn’t need to give me any profit. We shall see if it works.

Is there anything you miss from your teenage years? or are you glad those days are over?

PS: All the photos were taken by me between the ages of 16 and 19