Columns, Opinion

SHEA: The lost years

We have almost no information about Jesus’ life between his ages of 12 and 30. Some claim he continued with carpentry, while others believe he toured Europe, even making a stop at Glastonbury to play with Oasis. This period of time, one might think, is the most important stage of development in a person’s life, whether they go on to become a doctor, antique salesman or savior of all mankind.

No one likes looking back at pictures of their awkward in-between years. I, for one, would not be thrilled if photos of 12-year-old me were publicly displayed for everyone to see my clunky glasses and weird sense of style. The only time I look back at these years is when I want to cry over how wonderfully skinny I was before I discovered the wider world of carbohydrates.

This gestation period still plays into who I’ve become as a person, and compared with Jesus, I still have nine more years to go. But Jesus’ silent years have sent me into a reflection the past couple of days about the differences between my life as a pre-teen and teenager, through now when, in the words of Britney Spears, I’m “not a girl, not yet a woman.” I still cringe if a stranger refers to me as a “lady” and I immediately check to make sure I don’t have any new wrinkles on my forehead, then take a hit of Botox just in case.

I remained childlike past childhood. Everything, even up until my first year of college, has always been exciting and new, somehow playing a significant part into whatever my path will be. Young children are constantly fascinated with even the simplest of things, and I maintained this sense of newness of the world from my first time putting on a Varsity cheerleading uniform freshman year of high school to my first class at Boston University with a stomach full of butterflies on angel dust (the butterflies, not me).

It’s sad to be coming to the end of this period. Although I’m content with the world, fewer and fewer things strike me as exciting and the fairy tale of college is over. I’m too comfortable with my limits and need to learn how to push them again, or even how to just explore. Sometimes it’s easy to just feel stuck in myself.

I frequently think about advice that I would have given my 12-year-old self and fantasize about a time machine that could take me back and warn me about the mistakes I was in the process of making. Too many people settle for less and hold on to the notion that they would not change their current situations for the world, good or bad, which is one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard.

By the time I’m 30, I will be grateful, however, only if no one knows about my embarrassing childhood photos, racy college anecdotes and most importantly, these columns.

Sydney L. Shea is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].


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