On turning 14 or 40 Which is worse or better?

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A comparison of how life was when I was 14 and how it is now when I'm 40. Is it worse or better? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Submitted: September 06, 2009

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Submitted: September 06, 2009

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Shortly after I turned 40 this summer, my friend's daughter turned 14, prompting a comment from her Grandmother that she did not like teenagers. I posed a question, which is worse turning 14 or 40? Here are my conclusions.

When I turned 14, Michael Jackson was first exploding on the scene as a solo artist "Thriller" was all the rage, as Kendra turns 14 he is sadly left this world in a most tragic fashion. As I matured I came to be first a metal head, then into the blues, then classical, with a little room for other genres. Now I am still pretty much the same. My latest blues obsession is a band called Rufus Huff, but there are a lot of other good bands I'm getting into as well, like 81db, System of a Down, Shine Down, and still hard core into Zeppelin and Clapton, but mellowing a bit around the edges.

When I was 14 my biggest concerns were 1. The latest crush I had, 2. The enjoyment, and creation of music. 3. The imminent threat of nuclear war. Now my biggest concerns are my daughter, who is two, my family, and my country. I think I am a lot less self centered, now, but I still crave being alone.

When I was 14 I wanted to be a rock star, but was not very confident in my ability to perform, so chose a career eventually as a disc jockey, but with the deregulation of radio, that was a short career path. I'm in computers now, but still dream of a career in the music business sometimes. I own two guitars and want to get a piano, and I would like to teach piano. Conversely when I was 14 I finally was allowed to cease my piano lessons, stretching back to the age of seven.

When I was 14 personal computers were the newest thing and schools were starting to purchase one or two, by the time I had graduated most schools had a computer center with gasp 12 or 20 computers at the most. Every business is inundated with them, you can't get away, so don't try.

Now I work in a datacenter where I have three banks of pc's that I mostly work on with several clients. It would seem that those who do not have a computer are the left behinds. I even sit my daughter up at the computer to acquaint her with her future. I am hoping some day she will even be able to teach me a thing or two...she is two so not too long now.

When I was 14, I was kind of moody, but I don't think I was one of those teenagers for whom everything was an end of the world type crisis. Now that I'm 40, well if the end of the world comes it will just be another thing to deal with on my long list of things I have to do. I don't think it will though, because I sold my soul to the company store this year.

I bought a house, a car, new carpet, a new couch, a new stove, and a grill among other things. I think Obama should personally send my husband and I a Thank-You note for doing our part to keep the economy going. When I was 14 I had no personal debt, now I'm in it up to my ears, though not as a bad as a lot of people, just average. I'm still quite moody sometimes, but am better able to keep it in check.

When one is fourteen of course one knows everything, and cannot wait to be an adult and make their own choices. Now that I'm 40 I do get to make a few choices, but a lot of them are still dictated by other factors in my life. Where I live is dictated by my income, and proximity to work. Where I work is dictated by what skills I have aquired in life.

It's also a co-operation between my husband and I, because of course he must also choose according to his income and proximity to employment. It is precisely for this reason that he drives the new car and I drive the old car, because he works farther away from home than I do. I have discovered that there is so much more to know than I can ever fathom. "Medic pedic herowick, ad hoc ad loc and quid pro quo, so little time, so much to know." Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D. (Yellow Submarine).

At 14 the idea of having kids was way far off in the future. That was due in part to having to baby sit a colicky baby, who was still in cloth diapers. I did not like trying to pin diapers up on a wiggly baby, and now I have a two year old who is convinced she does not need diapers, but isn't quite trained yet.

I can't imagine trying to get a cloth diaper pinned on her, though they make lots of cloth diapers that are a whole lot easier to use due to more enlightened, and environmentally friendly options. Still I just didn't have the time or the money to invest in them, especially when the average cost is like 13 dollars a diaper, and she's almost done. I'm glad I have one, but in my view am too old to have another, I just don't have the energy.

When I was 14 I was informally trained to cook in my mother's kitchen where imagination was strictly forbidden. The production of food was for family who didn't want to try new things, and for social engagements for which my Mom was obliged, and did not want to risk hearing anything but, "Fabulous food Charlene."

Now it's my kitchen and although I do turn out a few flops here and there, I have gotten pretty good and can't wait to master the charcoal grill. I wonder though that even if in this day and age of women's liberation, if I should not defer the grilling duties to the husband unit. I probably won't, because time wise, it's not practical to wait until he gets home from work to fire it up.

When I was 14 the whole world was my oyster, but then as I went through high school my fear of not getting acceptable grades kept me from trying classes I probably would have succeeded at. Now I can't wait to try things, but I'm not crazy. I would like to sky dive and hang glide one time, but I tend to keep my adventures in music and in the kitchen, because I just don't have time or money to invest in those crazy things.

I hope that I can imbue my daughter with a philosophy that it is better to try and fail than to not try at all. Lets face it unless I hit the number on a the lottery, I'm probably not going to be able to afford to send her to an Ivy League School. Sadly I don't play the lottery a whole lot, because Mom always said, "There's no such thing as easy money." Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone could grasp that concept?

When I was 14 by enlarge, most young adults had to pay for their own college education, and yes you can make the argument that it was cheaper then. Of course it was cheaper then, we all made less money. My sister said her son didn't get a shred of financial aid due to her income, which good, but still not enough to pay his way. He was awfully worried about going into debt the first year, but like she said. It's a worthy investment, and if you don't want to make pizzas for the rest of your life, you have to do it.

So many people are so willing to just give up everything for their children...I even see my husband going down that road sometimes. I even joke him about how he should really start saving money for her sweet 16 car (14 years away ironically), cause I am sure as hell not going to make the payments. I'll help her get a car, but I won't buy it for her and it certainly will not be new.

Not to say I don't do anything with my girl, I do, but within reason. I also won't be giving over my personal person and devoting my whole self to her. Sorry, my Mom didn't do that, and neither will I. I do devote quite a bit of time to being silly with her, and a lot less time worrying about house work than she did.

So each age has its own set of pros and cons, as it always has. I think with the passing of the past 26 years I have learned a lot. Not just in terms of school and business, but also how to be a good friend, not only to myself, but to my family and extended family (friends). I hope my dealing in the world is fair, and that people would look on me with no ill regard, although I was a pretty mean kid, I think my wealth of face book and other social networking and in person networking friends means I'm a pretty decent soul.

Do I think I would rather be 14 again, heavens no, but it is interesting to get the perspective of how the world has changed and how it has changed me. I would appreciate anyone sharing their stories here, of how their life has changed in the past few years, and how it has stayed the same. Thanks for your time


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