*The following content contains expletives that may be inappropriate for children
When I was 14 years old I went to a psychologist with my immediate family. He sat the 4 of us in a room and we spent the next couple hours opening up more than one can of worms.
By the end of it all I was weeping, feeling raw and vulnerable with an understanding of myself I had never had before. He asked to speak with me privately and I agreed. When we sat in his office he asked me “Ariel, how old are you?” I answered. He followed the first question with “How old do you feel?”. I started to cry again. At last, I replied “Older.” He nodded “Yeah, I would say that you have been acting as though you were 18.”
When I was 14 I decided I knew what was best for myself. I had my first “serious” boyfriend. I hung out with Juniors and Seniors as a Freshman. I snuck out of my home to climb to the roofs of half-built homes and watch the planes land at Sky Harbor Airport, amongst other things. I put myself in situations that 14-year-olds should not be in. I acted out of pain that I didn’t even know I owned and translated that into insisting I wasn’t a baby.
I look at girls who are 14 now and I am shaken. It has been six years since then, and it feels like a lifetime. I have lived a lot of life since then. I have been adamant on proving that I am an individual, even if that meant risking my morals. I have learned that age is a number that has limits. But for a very long time I refused to accept such concepts.
There is a reason that there is a difference between Knowledge and Wisdom. Anyone can gain knowledge, especially in our culture. However, wisdom is earned. It is earned by each moment, experience, and year. And it cannot be given until time lapses. In relationships there is a big difference between Being Right and Being in a Relationship. You can know every little fact about a strawberry, but if you have never tasted it before you would have no way of explaining its flavor.
When I was 14 I decided to know everything about everything. I wanted to grow up. I wanted to be an adult, to give away adolescence in a false attempt of understanding life. It is tragic…so unbelievably sad, to give that away. Now, I always say that I wouldn’t change anything because of who I am today. But if you gave me a time machine and it was possible to change some things then I might be a bit of a hypocrite. However, the lesson it has taught me is something worth passing on: I learned that age is something to savor and not force in an attempt to protect yourself.
It may seem a bit backwards, but I now realize that my intense need to grow up was so I could protect myself. From naivety. From the idea that my dreams might be too big, too small, not good enough. In order to be my own person so not a single other soul could have a chance to tell me what or who that was. But it was all a sham. I ended up letting all of those things happen because I wasn’t able to be content with wonder.
I yearn to be in relationship with those around me, even if it means not being right. I seek humility so thoroughly because it is the only way to protect me against myself. Time is the ultimate healer, and I am finally coming to terms with the fact that it is okay, and I finally understand why patience is a virtue.
Van Sant, Gus, dir. Good Will Hunting. Miramax, 1997. Film. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-gZintWDc>.