Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Would You Like to Be 17 Again?

So I just saw the movie 17 Again on the weekend with my girls (boy had to tag along too but it was fine - there's basketball and goofy guy stuff in it so he was okay. Not too much icky kissing stuff. Which, of course, disappointed the girls). I really enjoyed it. Funnier than I expected and I predict Zac Efron is going to be more than just a teen idol star. He has that certain screen presence and enough talent that makes him able to carry a movie on his own. I found it unbelievable though that he would ever morph into looking like Matthew Perry at 35. Nuh-uh. Sorry, Matthew.

Anyway, this post is not about reviewing the movie. What I've been thinking about since I saw it was whether, if given the chance, I'd ever like to be 17 again. If I had a chance at a do-over would I take it? In this movie, the 35 year old Matthew Perry does. He's regretted a lot of choices in his life - one in particular - and looks back at a major turning point in his 17 year old self that set him on a path that he felt wasn't his true path. Suddenly, he gets a chance to relive his life. Would this be a good thing?

Now most of us probably have something we wish we'd done or hadn't done or tried or wish we'd tried for but didn't that might have changed our life path. But would it have been for the better? It's like when we're plotting out a book - if the hero does this then this or this could happen. But what if he does this instead? Argh! A person could go crazy with the choices made or not made in ones life.

In my case, I might have changed a few things - like going away to university instead of staying at home.
But then... would I have moved to Toronto after I graduated? Would I have met my husband, had my amazing children?


Or I might have made my 17 year old self take that creative writing program instead of majoring in English Literature and studying other writer's and avoiding writing something of my own. Maybe if I'd have started the craft earlier I would be further ahead right now.

But then... would I have become discouraged too quickly because I was still young and naïve and impatient and too interested in travel and just having fun? Would I have been able to keep the discipline my older self developed after having children that drove me to write and keep writing? Maybe my life path was supposed to take a later course for writing and not one that started in high school.


Maybe that's why I became a writer of teenage fiction. I'll never get the chance to be 17 again but I can live vicariously through my characters and make them experience the consequences of choices that I'll never be faced with again. Yeah. 17 might be a great age but I don't think I'd want to go back there.

But then ... there is that whole eat-what-you-want-without-consequences aspect to it.



  1. I'd want to be 17 again for a week, but only if I were allowed to have what I know now firmly in my head. One week would be just long enough to have a little fun with all the bullies who made my life a misery -- and eat my fill of lemon meringue pie, hot fudge sundaes, and banana pudding.

  2. Yes!!! The eating! I miss the eating! Okay, well I don't miss the eating because my eating habits haven't changed (although putting away a whole pizza has unwanted consequences nowadays)but the number on the scale sure has!

  3. Mary: I hear you on dealing with the idiots that were part of high school! So many great comebacks to teasing only arrive in my head after it's too late to fling them at anyone. Ah well, we can always use those feelings in our next book.

    Martha: I used to be able to put away an entire bag of Lay's chips or a whole box of Kraft Dinner in one sitting! Now I don't do that and why am I not getting rewarded for that?? Life's just not fair sometimes...