When we were out walking Ms. Bay today, my husband commented, “What a difference a day makes.” He was referring to the crisp autumn air, the sunshine stretching around white puffy clouds, and the beautifully-colored Fall days that Northern California loves to show off.
This, up against yesterday. Yesterday when we walked Ms. Bay, her yellow labrador ears were flapping in the wind. Her eyes were slits barely capable of staying open in the hurricane-like blasts. A tumbleweed blew across our newly-greened pasture grass. Three levels of competitive clouds pushed through the sky, racing to see who could get there first. Trash cans blew over making loud crashes like local yahoo gunfire.
It’s all malleable. It’s always shifting. Life imitates weather, or vice versa.
It made me think of Jaylen Fryberg and the Washington State shooting last week at Marysville-Pilchuck High school. The media seemed puzzled that this popular freshman who played football and was homecoming prince had reached a point where he felt the solution to his problems was to shoot up the school cafeteria and kill his friend, himself, and hurt his other former friends. This turned the paradigm of unhappy loner teen on its head, and gave us yet another level to think about as a culture.
First, being a teen–any teen–is tough. It doesn’t matter what clique you belong to, who or who doesn’t like you, who or who didn’t break up with you, or the level of parenting accessible at home. It’s full of raw emotion, many firsts, and days that feel overwhelming. I think that’s why, at 50, I still choose to write about those years in the form of young adult fiction. I think that’s also why people my age still refer back to that time with such strong feelings, and not just at high school reunions.
But as you get older, you realize what a difference a day makes. You start to see (hopefully) that you can choose how those days go, for you are the co-creator of your days. You can choose to wait out the hurricane-like winds that blow trash cans down, knowing that tomorrow likely will be a gorgeous autumn day. You let your thoughts work for you, not against you. Or, you can let yourself get lost in the hurricane, crashing into other life, and damaging it irreparably.
As a teen, it sometimes feels like there’s not a choice. As an adult, it can feel like that, too. The truth is, though, there’s always a choice. And knowing that shift is just around the corner can make all the difference.
As I finished this, my son and his friend, Bailey, came out of their teen man cave, which piles up with empty plates and football games on lazy Sundays like these. Bailey looks out the window and says, “Wow. What a difference,” noticing the weather change.
“I just blogged on that,” I said.
“See, there. I was reading your mind. Hashtag Pisces Thing,” he laughed.
“It’s true,” I said, totally believing in the #Piscesthing. “Here’s the gist.” I recounted my words of wisdom to my teen boys.
There was a pause as they looked outside.
“So what’s for dinner?” they asked.