My daughter turned twelve this week. I remember twelve. Something about twelve made me want to linger. Maybe it was because I knew it was my last year before lurching into teenagedom. Somehow at twelve stickers and stuffed animals still seemed acceptable, but at thirteen the pressure to try and grow up was on. And that was in the 1980’s, the decade of yuppies and excess hair and ridiculous shoulder pads and fluorescent fashion explosions.
Strange how compared to today, the 1980’s appear relatively innocent and naive… it’s as if our lives pre-Internet have become equivalent to the times of a horse drawn carriage. Quaint. Simple. Charming. In the 80’s I could impress friends when I travelled home to London over summers, bringing back with me a treasure trove of cassettes – UK bands that no one in LA had heard of yet. That was serious kudos.
Sadly kudos is harder to come by today. Everyone knows everything about everyone and everything. My children have been exposed to a barrage of images and information much sooner than I would have ever hoped for. So I resisted my 12 year old’s plea for her dad’s old iPhone, and for her 12th Birthday present I took her to see Florence and The Machine at The Hollywood Bowl instead.
And it was pure joy.
For those who know me and for those who have been reading this blog from the beginning, you will recall that I LOVE Florence Welch and her Machine. She is a truly exceptional role model for young girls and women. She’s gentle and fierce. Strong and vulnerable. Expressive and Free. Dramatic and real. She whirls across the stage like a magical nymph and has a voice like an angel. She weaves stories and tells truths through her lyrics. She asks the audience to move. She requested that all 18,000 of us jumped. And we did. I held tight to my twelve year old’s hand and we jumped as high as we could. And we sung. And we smiled. Florence gave us permission to play!
And I threw a wish into the stars. A wish for my daughter:
That she can hold onto twelve while it lasts.
That even though she is growing in an age that is so far from innocent, that somehow she will still seek out the mystical moments of delight that cannot be delivered via a screen.
That she will mature into a teenager and a woman who is not afraid to embrace the child she was once was. The child she is now.
That she will always feel free enough to jump with abandon.
Who knows what the future holds? She too may look back at twelve and reminisce about the clunky gadgets she used to long for.
“When I was your age we had an archaic gizmo called the iPhone. We all wanted one. Those were the days…”
What was your decade? Share a memory from when you were twelve. OR write for ten minutes using the word WISH as a springboard.