As teenagers, my brother and I spent a lot of time playing in the woods. We went hiking, fishing, and swimming in the creek.
We also built a makeshift fort and took some of my mom’s old lawn furniture down there. Mom never did figure out what happened to her chairs.
We spray-painted graffiti under the bridge. We wrote our names, the names of our dogs, and noted each year we were there.
Basically, the two of us ran wild through those woods and we were having a blast.
That was 26 years ago. Aaron passed away three years ago and his birthday is on Monday. I decided to take his daughter (Gwen) out there. She heard various stories over the years, but never got a chance to see the area. It seemed like a good way to honor Aaron’s memory.
I was surprised to see a lot of our graffiti is still there. Each step I took, felt like I was going back in time. Even though the terrain has changed some over the years, I could still recognize different sections and areas. I still remembered my way around those woods.
Memories of those days flooded my mind. It was a surreal feeling. I could almost see us and our dogs running wild. I was excited to see it all again. However, I felt the grief of my brother’s death.
I was hiking down memory lane and my heart was overflowing with mixed emotions.
After apologizing for my bad behavior, this seemed like an appropriate song.
I found Mortified Nation on Netflix. The documentary shows adults reading journals or diaries they wrote as teenagers.
I was constantly laughing during the show. I wasn’t laughing at the person, instead I was laughing at how they believed the world to be as teenagers and at how I also had many of those same ideas. In a way, I was also laughing at myself.
I forgot what it was like to be a teenager. I forgot how scary it was to have all those first time experiences. I forgot how confused I was about how to survive in this world.
The documentary ends with a reminder: We are all freaks, we are all fragile, and we all survived.
When I was a teenager, the coolest place to hangout was at the courthouse square in downtown Athens, Alabama. Teenagers flocked to the site every evening. Everybody was there, or at least everybody that really mattered in our teenage world.
I admit, I was a regular visiter. I also had a truck, so I would drive around the square with my windows rolled down and the stereo blasting. The other kids with vehicles also drove around the square. It was like a parade of teenage drivers. After a while, I would park the truck and talk to people. I always had a blast while hanging out at the square.
As an adult, I think back on those days and wonder. How in the world did driving in circles end up being the coolest and most fun thing to do in the world? I drove for hours, but never went anywhere. That sounds ridiculous to me now.
I used to be a teenager that was embarrassed by adults, but now I am an adult that embarrasses teenagers.
I took my teenage niece shopping for new shoes. While the store worker was measuring her feet, I commented on her toenails and said she needed to cut them more often.
My niece didn’t say a word, instead she just did a face palm.
It’s official, I am an embarrassment to teenagers.