It's mostly because of the comparably fewer responsibilities I had; while cleaning my mother's house day in and day out was hardly exciting, and was a huge point of contention for us, it's nothing compared to having to do that while caring for, feeding, and entertaining two children. As I had no car and no real bills to speak of, it was next to impossible for me to worry about money beyond what concerns I knew my mother had. What did I worry about? Getting online next, and of course seeing my long-distance boyfriend. I didn't consider how relatively lucky I was to only have to worry about homework for classes and an occasional paper. Maybe if I had listened when older friends told me that things really did get harder, got worse, I would have taken advantage of that time. Maybe I would have made more of an effort to do things with friends, to go places, to get a job and earn some money. Maybe I would have thought more about my future and less about what I was doing right that second.
Then again, for some reason, I always had it in the back of my head that I wouldn't live through high school. Not necessarily out of a suicidal urge (I was as depressed, I think, as most overweight high school kids without close friends in similar situations), but because I had (and still have) trouble imagining something that was supposed to happen in the future.
As I sit here, I can hear the band at the high school rehearsing. All I can really hear is the drums, an occasional but low beat that thumps itself out in memorable fashion. They're preparing for the last few home football games, working on their field show. I remember it all too well, how much I hated it and dreaded going outside as an overweight girl who had trouble with her knees and with breathing. Now, some 100 pounds later, I inwardly laugh at myself for being so awkward and for not taking better care of myself. I know I would have been able to lose weight, feel better, and generally like myself more physically if I had made some kind of genuine attempt - but I chose not to. If I had known what I would physically look like nearly a decade later, maybe I would have pushed myself more to work on my body, to adjust my attitude, to try to establish some kind of spirituality and concern for my own well being. Maybe if I had known then just how much MORE I would hate myself now, I would have made an effort.
Hindsight, as always, is such a bitch.
Of course, psychological studies have been done that prove that teenagers have a different mental capacity for events and situations. Their minds are built differently, the chemicals and hormones present make their reactions to things seem unreasonable or irrational to adults. We ask ourselves, "Why didn't I?" or "Why do they?" when in truth the answer is that we are all made to act this way. Some of us are blessed with the capability to suppress the desire to act out and actually achieve some pretty impressive things; the rest of us are stuck on the back burner, wondering why we never tried to aspire to such things, never made those choices.
So what do we do when the past is gone and we feel as though we've totally lost control of the present thanks to our choices way back when? What do we do when the future seems so uncertain because we didn't consider today yesterday? How do we deal with the stress of tomorrow when we aren't adequately prepared today?