In 2010, my daughters and I had a movie night date about once a week. One particular night we watched a movie called “17 Again”. It was a movie that starred the actor, Zac Efron, and because one of my daughters had a crush on him, we had to watch every movie that he ever starred in.
This movie is about a man who feels like everything in his life has gone wrong since he was 17 years old when he was a popular basketball star. He was young, healthy, strong and in love. He yearns to be 17 again and his wish is granted, and he goes back 20 years in time and becomes 17 years old again.
While he is 17 years old, he has the wisdom of a husband and a father, because after all, he really was one. It was interesting to watch how his character changes after he is given a chance to relive his youth with the knowledge and experiences of an adult.
I thought about this movie this week because I spoke to a friend who was complaining about getting old. She told me that she wishes that she could relive her youth and do it all over again.
After speaking with her, I thought about the movie and what it would be like to be 17 again. Well, maybe 21 (I don’t want to go to school again). Would life be different if I could go back in time and redo all the things that I messed up the first time around?
What I didn’t realize when I was younger was that the mistakes and poor decisions that I made were only going to make me stronger and wiser in the future. Those wrong choices shaped me for what was yet to come and have made an impact on the decisions that I currently make.
When we are in our teens and early adult years, our hormones and emotions are at an all-time high. Our decisions, plans, conversations, and actions are all driven by how we are feeling at that time. We laugh more, we cry more, we are more impulsive and every decision we make is based on who is going to be there, what am I going to wear, and is it going to be fun. I find it amusing that I know some adults who still think like that.
If I could take back all the selfish actions, unkind words, insecurities, time wasted, bad decisions, and the wrong friendships, then I would do it all over again. Even though I cannot magically go back in time to undo anything that I did in the past, I can make a better future for myself.
- I can be unselfish and more compassionate.
- I can be kinder, because even a smile or act of kindness can make another person’s day.
- I can be confident and stop filling my head with my self-imposed insecurities.
- I can take better care of myself with more rest, better nutrition, fresh air and exercise.
- I can use my time wisely to improve myself (learn a skill, work on a neglected project).
- I can pray more about decisions that I make on a daily basis. This keeps me close to God.
Growing older happens naturally whether we are ready for it or not. Growing up takes a special effort to try to become better, change our behavior and limiting beliefs, and learn from the mistakes of our past. The good news is that although we cannot relive our past again, we CAN start all over. Starting now! We have a second chance. A chance to grow up.
And this time, we can do it the RIGHT way.