life, thoughts

When I Was 17, It Was A Very Good Year

If you’re old enough, you may remember the Frank Sinatra song, It Was A Very Good Year. I only know it because my dad was a huge Sinatra fan. He used to play his music in the car on 8-track all the time. I remember this was one of the few crooner songs I didn’t mind him playing. The melancholy melody moved me.

Side note: I’m a rocker, so my dad and I clashed when it came to music.

I mention this line of the song, because I’ve been thinking about what it was like to be a teenager. Do you remember? Were you insecure or secure? Were you a rebel? How did you feel inside? Were you confident or unsure? Scared or brave? NaΓ―ve or street smart? Happy or lonely?

Those are rhetorical questions to get to another point.

I was a good teen. So much so that I was labeled the “goody-goody” amongst peers and friends. I didn’t mind, because no one was mean to me about it. In fact, they seemed to respect it and teased me in a friendly way.

Look at that goofy, naΓ―ve face on that 14-year old girl (me) going to her very first dance.

I was proud of myself for staying away from trouble, but I was insecure. I always worried that I’d lose my friends. And, sometimes I did. I also felt very misunderstood. On occasion, when I thought I was doing good by telling the truth, people would take it the wrong way. I’d be hurt and upset, because I didn’t mean what they thought I meant. It was an awful feeling which kept me lamenting and hiding in my room for days, sometimes weeks.

I also didn’t have a firm grasp on who I was yet, and it was difficult when others would tell me who they thought I was. It was very confusing.

If we had social media back then, where anything I did could be spread everywhere, to people I don’t even know, I may have been in deep emotional trouble. What if I had been on a school field trip where an incident occurred, and we students had nothing but good intention? What if social media twisted it into a lie and made monsters of us?

I’d have been devastated.

My mind and heart would’ve collapsed from being wildly misunderstood. I’d wonder, do they see something in me I missed? Am I that unlovable? I’d probably need some kind of intervention from a therapist or medication to snap me out of it. I’ve never in my life contemplated suicide, but it might’ve crossed my mind if even television media told the world I was some kind of brute.

Teenage boys on a trip, exploring.

Whether they realize it or not, teenage girls and boys grapple with their identities. I remember that time of my life clearly. When I was misunderstood, the world felt like it was closing in on me. I blamed myself.

It’s confusing enough to be a teenager, and my heart breaks when I see any of them being labeled something ugly from people who never even met them.

Good thing I was born in a different era. I wonder how this mass scale judgement will effect the futures of those who are teenagers today.

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25 thoughts on “When I Was 17, It Was A Very Good Year”

  1. I think social media would have been a nightmare for me as a teenager. I was very insecure about my looks and about whether my friends really liked me (after a lot of bullying as a pre-teen). I was also forever chasing a new boy and far too eager to please. There would probably have been some kind of sexting scandal.

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    1. Oh yes, my pre-teen years were rough with bullying, too. I blogged a short story about it under my memoirs page.

      I think what would’ve really broken me would be lies. They can make up anything and spread it all over the world with the press of a button.

      Thanks for sharing how you might’ve handled social media as a teen. I sure hope the teens today can weather that storm okay.

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  2. Great post, Lori. When I turned sixteen, I rebelled, but not to the point where I endangered myself. At least not much. I partied like there was no tomorrow. So I am really glad social media didn’t exist back then. It was hard enough having to deal with bullying. Cyberbullying is hideous and much more prevalent..

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    1. Hi L. Cyberbullying is hideous for sure. Even worse, television media picks up stuff from social media and reports things, too. It’s massive.

      BTW, I did do some drinking my senior year, mostly once I hit eighteen (Wisconsin was legal then). Other than that, I didn’t really rebel.

      As I respond to your comment, it’s thundering and lightening out there. Sounds like hard rain. Stay safe.

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        1. I know, right? And snow is coming on Sunday. πŸ˜› I’m happy be to here and experience winter, but now I’m ready for spring. πŸ™‚

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  3. The teen years are hard for most of us. I remember, at 14, not feeling like I was too old for playing with children but too young to be with adults. At 17 I worried a lot about what to do with the rest of my life. Guess I got through it okay, but those are tough years for most teens.

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  4. These times are hard for teenagers with everything they do out in the open for interpretation. I wonder if future generations will adapt a tougher shell to survive. It’s a weird form of evolution. I have 2 granddaughters who seem to be thriving. They are 13 and have friends. Hopefully they will come out the other end as confident adults.

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    1. Hi Kate. It’s good to hear that your granddaughters are doing well. So is my 13-year old nephew. I guess they grow up used to it. Maybe they will grow a thicker skin than I ever had.

      Thanks for sharing.

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  5. The pressure from social media is intense on young people and a huge topic of debate in the U.K. at the moment … and I think for some people, not just young, it is tough! I was just reading a famous actress saying how Instagram got her down despite the fact she was a positive confident person. Yep, I’m glad I didn’t have to grow up with all this attention … yet I see how my own son is growing into a confident, happy and stable young man, living a balanced life! Love the photo, Lori! Hope you had a lovely first dance … and I bet you were both squirming to go and get away from the photo taking! πŸ˜€

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    1. Hi Annika. I’m very glad that your son is well-balanced in this new way of growing up in today’s society. I was just so hurt for those Christian teenage boys (in America) who were on a field trip and falsely made into monsters by the media here.

      Yeah, I had a nice time at that first dance. That boy (my date) had the most gorgeous, snowy blue eyes. I was terrible to him, cause I was boy crazy and didn’t stick with him. πŸ˜›

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  6. I’m so thankful that I grew up in the same era as you, Lori. Social media has changed the way children experience their childhood, unfortunately not for the better. I’m laughing at the photo of our date. His hair looks like every boy I knew at 14! πŸ™‚

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    1. Great point, Jill. Social media does completely change how children experience childhood. I was feeling so sad for the teenage boys on a field trip who were made into monsters by the MSM, and I imagined it happening to me. I’d have been broken.

      Yeah, did you see the polyester suit in the picture, and my braces? LOL That boy had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen to this day. They were a snowy blue. I treated him terrible. Dumped him soon after cause I was so fickle and boy crazy. πŸ˜›

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