Forever Seventeen

With nothing but a backpack over her shoulder and a pocket full of plans. A moment captured. Somewhere between the dreamy innocence of childhood and the harsh truths of a grown up life. Knowing nothing. Not who she is..or who she will be. Searching. For her self ..her voice... her becoming. Setting off on her own  journey. She begins.

Just seventeen.

A carefully crafted blueprint is what she carries. A constructed plan. A book of instructions. A map of straight and narrow roads to follow. A compass to put her back on track in the event that she might find herself turned in the wrong direction. The voices of others repeating themselves in her head. And a single simple mirror to reflect back and to remind her.

Timetables….schedules….deadlines. Always something important to do..somewhere urgent to go…someplace elsewhere to be. Forever in search of the pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. Forever in search of she.

A world holding its breath. A life waiting. The college degree..the profession..the marriage..the kids. A life fulfilled…and fulfilling. Time passing. A few wrong turns..a couple of detours..and an occasional dead-end. That road map is no use to her now. Life’s instructions are nothing other than words that fill a tired old book. And that carefully crafted blueprint is – right before her very eyes - slowly fading. There is no pot of gold at the end of each rainbow…and no one else’s voice ringing in her head.  The mirror is all that she still carries. It’s all that remains.

No longer seventeen.

With an empty backpack and pockets without plans. Caught. Somewhere in the middle of her very adult-world responsibilities and still wishing on her childhood star. A found inner compass.  A new sense of self. A growing strength. With only her mirror’s reflection answering her questioning gaze. A quiet whisper..almost inaudible to those passing by. She begins again.

Filled with questions…with self-doubt..with fear that sometimes paralyzes. She is learning to breathe..to sit with the discomfort..to believe. Often confusing and always a surprise…her inner compass has became her eternal companion and guide. Altho not the paths she imagined she’d follow..the crooked ones have become her new friends.

A trail of new dreams. Without any real goals or absolute destinations. In this moment. No longer needing to know where it is she is going...and yet knowing that she must go. Learning to trust in herself and her voice. Learning to listen. Daring to be heard… and to be seen. The mirror’s ever-changing reflection a constant reminder of who she is. Always becoming.

Forever seventeen.