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Oh She (Was) Only 17

Don't you think there is a disproportional amount of songs written about being 17? I remember listening to some of those songs on repeat when I was young(er) and feeling so.. alive? There is often this nostalgic element when thinking about the past, so one evening I decided to dive into it and explore.

How to access memories from one's teenage years:

1) Make a playlist of songs that would have a been in a mixed CD (what a lost art-form..). Mine definitely involved Regina Spektor, Kings of Leon, Coldplay.

2) Talk to a friend who was there growing up together so you could reminisce together and remind each other of all the stupid shit you've done.

3) Find notes, diaries, videos, pictures of that time as proof that some of those memories are real and that you did have a terrible sense of style.

My proof for many memories was my first online diary (some weird version of blogging in 2006 Lithuania) that I used to write and share with friends. I opened the diary and the next two hours brought me back to so many things I completely forgot.. Song lyrics, love stories, heartbreaks, joys of friendships and just little bits of everyday life.

To be honest, I was overwhelmed by that 17-year-old girl experiencing life in such a powerful way. It made me think about few things, all of them will be best described by quotes from my favourite songs of the time.

I feel it all, I feel it all The wings are wide, the wings are wide

Every sentence I wrote was loaded with feelings. Sad was extremely sad, joyous was extremely joyous and being in love happened often. I would fall in love in a blink of an eye and get heartbroken just as fast. I felt so much then. I don't think I let myself feel that much today. In fact, I think I would go crazy and couldn't do much in life if I kept feeling it all. Maybe I understand more about my feelings today, I know what to do with them so they don't overpower me. I know that emotions come and go, that sometimes it takes time and attention, but eventually you move on. I don't think I knew much of that when I was 17, thereby my life was a constant storm of emotions.

Old teenage hopes are alive at your door Left you with nothing but they want some more

Probably the word that I used the most in my teenage diary is life. That is maybe the thing that hasn't changed so much as I still love finding ways to describe life. < The other day I was in a taxi, the driver was telling that he's writing a never-ending master thesis and I said "that's a great metaphor for life" (he said he liked my philosophical outlook). > However, the way I saw life 10 years ago was full of hopes, full of waiting for the life to happen. When I get older, when I finish my school/studies, all these things seemed like obstacles that once overcome will not bother me. Ha, little did I know that there will always be other obstacles. It felt that life was always about to happen, yet now I see that life was happening right in front of me with all it's fireworks.

So come out of your cave walking on your hands

And see the world hanging upside down

I remember my city being my playground, parks, streets, benches had their special stories, new places were constantly being discovered and conquered. One of those days my friend and I found two giant armchairs that someone threw away and decided to drag them up on a hill only to sit for the next hour and feel amazing. Today my life in the city evolves around few main locations - dance studio, cafe/bar, airport. No dragging of armchairs on a usual day. I guess I miss a bit of that feeling that the city is full of surprises, stories, unexpected encounters instead of scheduled meetings and familiar coffeeshops.

No, this is how it works You peer inside yourself You take the things you like And try to love the things you took And then you take that love you made And stick it into some Someone else's heart Pumping someone else's blood And walking arm in arm You hope it don't get harmed But even if it does You'll just do it all again

There's one more thing that changed. Many things in life used to seem very complicated, so many questions without answers were on every corner. What should I do in my life? What to do with this crush? What if x, y, z happens? It's not that I know all the answers but I'm much more comfortable with that fact. Life still feels like a highly complicated project, but exactly because of that most of my answers today are very simple: "we will see", "it takes time", "just do it (all again)".

This trip down the memory lane is a beautiful reminder to check from time to time where you come from, what was learnt and what was left behind (as well as listen to the forgotten great songs). I know I want to notice more of life (I told you, it's still my most common word), bring back more of that feeling that you sometimes get while traveling - the feeling of beautiful surprises, unexpected conversations, synchronicities and to sometimes experience places with the eyes of that 17-year-old loud laughing girl.

There is one more thing that I found, when I was 17, I wrote a "manifesto" of what it means to be 17 (apparently, I already liked big declarations at the time..). It has some teenage rebellion in it, but it also reminds to live one's unapologetic life to the fullest.

She can:

feel however she wants to feel love every person she meets fall in love every day

not know what love is open the door for the new people

forget the ones that left

be angry and swear make mistakes cry or laugh not know what she wants know exactly what she wants act upon it

make wishes

not believe that wishes come true

believe that everything will be ok

forget that

dance till she drops sit while others are dancing not understand herself or the others

think that no one understands her

talk with anyone she wants be quiet love bicycles and airplanes

spend hours in a bookstore be the annoying teenager or a serious grownup

and all of that because she's only 17

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