At Fourteen

There is a whole world out there and you’ll see it soon enough.
It is the world inside of you you’ll find especially rough.
Try to write about it, and try to tell the truth
about the things that happen that you find uncouth.

Write about what hurts you, and hurts that you have done–
all those shadows in you brought into the sun.
Ask those around you why they act in ways that might seem cruel
and try to live your own life by the golden rule.

Take chances and do not be cowed when you achieve less
than what you might have hoped for, and when you’re wrong, confess.
Don’t just do what your friends do. Don’t act before you think.
However strange the ones around you, try to find a link.

The world has enough meanness. Try not to add to it.
Try harder in environments where you seem not to fit.
People who are petty will cut you like a knife,
but the chances that you take will be what will make your life.

Other people’s rules pinch like a too-small shoe,
so don’t let other people dictate what you do.
Do not fear to step aside and go out on your own.
The fields that yield the sweetest crop are those that you have sown.

Post this advice up on your wall and read it now and then.
Use it as a means to reassess where you have been.
Then when you are older, and your life grows thin,
do what I am doing now. Consider it again.

 

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “From You to You.” Write a letter to your 14-year-old self. Tomorrow, write a letter to yourself in 20 years.

21 thoughts on “At Fourteen

    1. lifelessons Post author

      You know, as I wrote it I was thinking about how trite my diary was at the age of 11 and equally how “unreal” my journal was at age 18. I was kind of trying to give advice about what kind of things to write about, as well. You hit the nail on the head!

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      1. c2avilez

        Interesting that you would say that. I also see my youthful writing as trite, but maybe that’s unfair, like criticizing a baby for not being able to run when she has just learned to walk. The stumbling steps are beautiful in their own way, though they make us cringe now. I did have a quote book. I think copying things I thought were deep and beautiful gave me something to hold onto during some very dramatic and tumultuous years, a kind of beacon to the person I hoped to become.

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        1. lifelessons Post author

          I had to keep a journal for my creative writing class in college and I remember trying to come up with things that would impress my teacher–the sort of lofty things i thought were supposed to be in a journal…I would hurry up and write them just before I had to turn it in…mainly quotations or lines from other things I’d read–attributed, I wasn’t plagiarizing, just trying to show what a deep thinker I was…Ha.

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  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    Nice. What a kind and pleasant letter to a young person.

    I can’t even remember me at 14, though obviously it came. And went. Twenty years from now? Either I’m a rotting corpse, or what? Will I be able to focus on a computer screen? Will be be using computers? Will I know who I am? Or will I be lost in dementia? Sometimes, the idea of being lost in dementia has a certain appeal.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      No no no…In reality..I don’t think so. I think tomorrow we are to write a letter to the person we were at twenty…not who we will be in 20 years, but I need to check it out. Perhaps I am wrong.

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  2. calensariel

    “Then when you are older, and your life grows thin, do what I am doing now. Consider it again.”
    Boy, that’s advice I think everyone should take. As Socrates said: The unexamined life is not worth living.

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  3. Pingback: Finding a Path | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

  4. Dreamer of Dreams

    There are very few people in the blogging world whose work I love unequivocally. You are among those. Your writing and art are always exquisite and moving, perfectly stated and deeply expressive, no matter what the topic.
    Thank you for this poem, especially these lines (which I believe deeply):
    “The world has enough meanness. Try not to add to it.
    Try harder in environments where you seem not to fit.
    People who are petty will cut you like a knife,
    but the chances that you take will be what will make your life.”

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. lifelessons Post author

      Well, I’m a bit choked up by your kind words, Dreamer. Thank you so much for your generosity in both feeling and stating them. The fact that I’m aware people are viewing is often what keeps me going. Another factor is that my writing is a conversation with myself–what others may get from religion or meditation. Please keep dreaming–and reading. Judy

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  5. Pingback: “At Fourteen” reblogged | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

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