I wish I was still a teenager

My life was perfect when I was 14. How can I get back there? 

Remember the past fondly, says our elder, but start looking ahead. You have all your life ahead of you!


Dear EWC

I’m 21 years old and a female. When I was 14-18 I had the best life I could imagine. Everything was absolutely perfect and how I wanted it to be. I got older, moved out to be more independent, and I’m miserable. I can’t figure out what to do. I spend all day, every day, wishing I could go back in time. Wishing I could relive those years and times. Whenever I talk to anyone about it, they tell me to go live with my dad again, but that won’t fix it. It wouldn’t be the same. That’s what scares me. It wouldn’t feel the same, the routine wouldn’t be the same. So that won’t fix it. How can I stop obsessively thinking about this? I know there’s nothing I can do, and my life can’t ever be that way again. So how do I let it go and move on?


William replies

Many of us think of the happy times we had in the past. Unfortunately, they are gone forever, except in our memories. You may think you were the happiest at age 14-18, and that might be true right now. You are only 21 and starting adult life. That itself is daunting for many. It’s nice to be a teenager with few responsibilities and to enjoy all the great things one’s teen years bring. However, nothing lasts forever. 

That might sound a bit pessimistic, and I should qualify it by acknowledging that the future is uncertain, for most people at age 20-21, the whole world is ahead of you. It’s nice to think of happy times in the past, but we should appreciate today and try to plan for our future life. You are just starting your journey and you will experience a lot of ups and downs as you move through life. Statistically you have 60-65 more years to enjoy life! Start thinking about the perks of being an adult – you can make your own decisions, get on with your career, meet a significant other, and the list goes on. 

You’re correct that if you move back home, things won’t be the same. That’s part of life as we mature and start to chart our own course in life. Most of us like to visit our parents, etc., but we don’t want to return home and live there. You’ve changed and so have your parents. I believe you are just going through an adjustment to adulthood. Give it a few more months and I bet you’ll start to feel more and more confidence in the young woman that you’ve become. Never forget your teen years, but accept that they are over and you are ready to move on to the next exciting phase of your life!

I want to leave you with one related thought. Some people say things like, “I’m not the same person I was when I was 14 (or 16 or 18).” You are! You have all the life experiences and knowledge you accumulated to age, say 18, plus more! You have all you had then plus everything you’ve accumulated since. You haven’t lost your teen years – you’ll always have them in your memories and every day you add a bit more! You are the sum of your life experiences, and that includes age 14-18 in addition to everything you do and experience as you move forward. Think positive. Remember the past fondly, but don’t dwell on the fact you can’t go back there. Life is a fantastic journey and you’ve really just begun. I wish you the best of luck!

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