Thursday, May 9, 2013
Back to My Future
This is my Back to the Future year. I turned 47-years-old last week. Not that that specific age makes this year any different than usual. I normally think about my teenage self on a regular basis, wishing I could start over.
I don't like admitting that, common as it may be for one to wish that they could have another chance to do things better. It's completely useless, wanting to be young again so that you can do things differently. It's never going to happen.
So, why can't I stop thinking about it? It's probably just typical of being middle-aged.
But just for kicks what would I have done differently? I would have found a way to be more courageous, in general, more confident. I would have pursued dance and performing more aggressively, instead of feeling so pressured to go to college.
Or maybe I would have mustered up the determination to finish college by my early twenties, all while attending dance classes regularly. I would have started drinking coffee much earlier in life.
And I would have stood up for myself more when it came to how I wanted to shape my future. I would have developed a backbone, despite my fears, especially when it came to dealing with my father and his good intentions.
I'm sure many fans of the Marty McFly trilogy felt the way I did after seeing the first installment: I wished that I, too, could go back in time to visit my parents when they were in high school and change our family's collective fates for the better.
I wanted to improve the foundation of my parents' young adult lives in the hopes of improving our family dynamics in the present, and my own life as a teenager.
Now I am like the middle-aged Marty in the second installment, strumming his guitar and nursing his regrets over dreams unrealized, the could've-beens and the should've-beens.
How can I use my own regrets constructively? The only useful answer I can come up with is to literally rewrite my own story. I am more than halfway through the first draft of my young adult novel, what I've written so far. And I know how it ends. I know how I want to set it up the last chapter to lead to a sequel, a second novel. But it's been slow writing. I'm having trouble bridging the middle part of the story to the ending.
I owe it to my 17-year-old self though. I owe it to my inner teenager from 1983 to finish the book, even if it never gets close to being edited and published. If I can't do it for myself, my present self, I can do it as a labor of love for him.
This is my Back to the Future year. This is the year I will commit to completing the first draft, one page at a time.