My daughter Charley is at that age where you want to be so many things, but you are not yet sure. How do you take a risk and put yourself out there, especially when you are 15 and don't have much life experience to fathom how it will turn out? When you feel interested, but also awkward. It's why I think many of us vividly remember that age, but don't necessarily want to be 15 again. The angst is uncomfortable - even as a memory.
This week she has reminded me twice of what it's like to be 15.
The first time was at the hairdressers. I was getting my hair cut, and she wanted to get some advice on a new hairstyle from her cool, edgy hairdresser Sara. It just so happened a really cute boy came in for his haircut. He noticed her straight off. He sat in his chair, peaking at her through the many mirrors. She subtly looked at him through the opposite mirrors. I was watching him watching her, and her watching him. This was way more fun than watching my hair foils get done!
Of course, after about 20 minutes his hair was done and he left. Only then did we all chat about what was actually happening. Charley blushed. Sara asked why she didn't come over. Charley looked horrified, but as we all regaled her with ways she could have created an opportunity to chat with him (offer to go and get coffees, talk to Sara about her hair colour, moan about her maths homework and ask what year he is in). Of course, it's easy to think of this after the fact. During is when you need to find that boldness and bravery. We all laughed, and Sara offered to tell Charley when he books his next hair appointment!
The second time was discussing how she could show she is serious about writing, as her aspiration is to study English literature at Edinburgh University (like her Dad). To get in, you need to demonstrate beyond marks why you are passionate and want to study this. As she is talented at writing poetry, I suggested that she share an original piece of poetry at my book launch in May. "Do people do that?" she asked. "Sure" I said. "It's like the support act at a concert" (totally making that up). "Yeah - I really like that idea Mum. Thanks. Count me in".
There it was. The angst that can lean forward, or back. Too shy to chat to a boy. But brave enough to write an original poem and present it to a room of adults!
When I reflected on this, I guess being 15 isn't that different to being 50. There are the things we shy away from, and then things we just act on by grabbing with both hands (before we overthink it). If it's something we want, the only way we will know is to act.
What are you leaning back from that you really want? What opportunity is ready and waiting - with just a little more courage and boldness?
p.s. I wonder if her poem will be about the boy that got away...?????!!!!!!!!