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.