Friday, January 17, 2014

Would I Like To Be Sixteen Again?

By Betsy Ashton

During the recent holidays someone asked if I would like to be sixteen again? I didn't answer, because I wanted to think about the question. Did I want to go back to a younger age? A simpler time?


I was a senior in high school when I was sixteen. I was smart. I was unhappy living in a state I won't name. I wanted to go home to California from the state I won't name. I wanted out of high school, where I was bored out of my freaking mind.

I didn't know what was ahead of me back in that dark age when dinosaurs walked the earth. I didn't know I would go to undergraduate school at one of the best universities in the land. I didn't know I would protest the war in Vietnam. I didn't know I would burn my bra for equal rights. I didn't know I would see two more of my heroes gunned down. After all, I'd lived through President Kennedy's assassination. I didn't foresee the assassinations of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy.

At sixteen what kept me sane was reading and riding my horses. I loved both equally. I read voraciously, but for my studies and for pleasure. I had teachers and one librarian who challenged me with great books. And I had a group of friends I rode with every week.

I learned to rope cattle. I learned to herd calves into shoots for tagging and inoculations. I learned sitting around a camp fire on a ranch after a hard day's work was more fun than the day spent in the saddle. I learned to dodge streams of tobacco juice...

The world was changing but I didn't see it yet. All I saw was graduation at sixteen and college applications and getting out of the state I won't name.

Would I go back to being sixteen again? Not if I have to meet my twelfth grade algebra teacher again.

Nope. I think I'll stay right where I am. Thank you very much.


If you're interested, please check out my mystery, Mad Max Unintended Consequences, available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.


Margo Hoornstra said...

Good question. Those were tough times. I'll take the campfire time and horses.

Jannine Gallant said...

My older daughter is sixteen. You couldn't pay me enough to be that age again!

Leah St. James said...

Betsy, I was just reading on an entirely different site that you're the First VP of the Virginia Writing Club! (I presume my beloved adopted state isn't the state which you won't mention here!) :-) Any plans for Festival of the Book? I'll be there for Saturday's romance panels, Love Fest (not appearing, just hanging around for the day). Would love to meet in person if you're attending.

Leah St. James said...

I mean Virginia WRITERS Club.

Alicia Dean said...

Thought provoking question and post. I wouldn't go back to 16 again, but I might go back to some age between that and my current age. I'd like a chance to do some things differently, but there are many things I wouldn't change.

(I'm adding the same note to all the posts I failed to comment on in a timely manner...BTW, I'm so sorry to be late to the post (I seem to say that a lot, I know, but these past few days have been insane!)