063: WHO'S DRIVING?
Wherein we discuss your inner teenager... and who the hell is driving your car?
“No one you have been and no place you have gone ever leaves you. The new parts of you simply jump in the car and go along for the rest of the ride. The success of your journey and your destination all depend on who's driving.”
- Bruce Springsteen
Last week I talked about the “inner child” topic. It really resonated with many of you.
Today I’m gonna talk about that INNER TEENAGER.
If our inner-child is innocent and adventurous, then usually by the time the teenage years come, that inner-child has already been changed as we lose our innocence.
Probably two paths here:
#1 Your Inner Child, sense of wonder & adventure gets drowned out…
This seems to be most common. By the time you are a teenager, adults are forcing you to think about college, careers, etc. AND if you’re choice is too creative (art, music, etc) authority figures usually diss you and tell you that’s just a hobby…
This is generally the stage where people begin to give in and conform.
Your inner teenager here would then start studying hard or looking for that working life path.
Often times, it was my sense of wonder from my inner child asking the WHYS and questions.
You can imagine this didn’t go to well at say….CHURCH!
I would start asking too many questions about the bible stories and how the story could be better. While bible stories held meaningful moral lessons, I could tell very early on they were stories being told, not necessarily historic facts.
When I was pre-teen, I was forced to go to church, wear a suit and tie. I pretty much hated it. I drew on the little song book pamphlet books.
Saturday mornings were FUN. Cartoons, adventure…
Sunday mornings were TORTURE.
#2 Your Inner Child rebels against authority…
I definitely fall into #2. Inside I was always a curious inner child. But it seemed I I questioned “authority” almost daily. My teachers and other adults never liked this much.
And so the rebellious teenager in me was born.
For better or worse.
THE WALL BUILDER…
The rebellious teenager had a tougher path.
He’s the one who BUILT THE WALLS around the inner child.
To protect himself, sometimes from himself.
This left the rebellious teenager on the outside of those walls, braving the elements.
Witness to all the darker things in life. Taking all the hits. Toeing all the lines.
TO THE VERY BITTER END.
I feel like the inner teenager hung around all through my 20’s, for sure, when I was raising a family and building a career with my art. I was cynical, bitter and jaded.
I was skeptical of most people, from so many bad deals, AND all of the things subconsciously my inner child was dealing with too.
I attracted the wrong kind of people AND situations.
THE LOST YEARS… or the INNER ADULT
I feel like the INNER ADULT version of me just “went through the motions” - pay bills. Deal with all the BS. Autopilot.
Stuck in an abusive relationship.
My ex was a serial cheater during my 16 year marriage.
I had some really painful times. Times where I hurt so bad I just wanted my world to end.
I didn’t want to kill myself or anything like that, but I was totally okay with the idea that maybe I could just die in my sleep or something.
I didn’t want to wake up to the emotional pain anymore.
But I was always raised to “stick with it” and that marriage was “better or worse” - that’s what you signed up for sucker!”
AND THEN BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN HAPPENED…
Oddly enough, I was listening to a random interview with “the BOSS”. And he he was talking about emotional pain and grief. So I stopped to listen…
And he had this metaphor that began to WAKE ME UP.
I’m gonna paraphrase it for you now.
It goes like this:
Imagine you’re in a car with passengers… and you’re driving along this dangerous road. You only have so much gas, and if you don’t get there, you’re gonna get caught up in this hell of a shitstorm, maybe a fiery tornado?
Your passengers in this car are your past selves.
There’s YOU, the adult NOW, the teenager you, and the 5 year old in the back seat.
Who would you trust to drive the car to safety? Who’s going to take the wheel?
The YOU now is too careful and driving too slow.
The 5 year old can’t reach the pedals.
You pick the teenager. Because he’s wreckless and isn’t afraid to move fast.
Pedal to the metal!
In life… it’s all about who you let drive.
Later, my wife at the time told me I was talking in my sleep, and the voice was saying “LET ME DRIVE!”
It was my inner teenager taking the wheel. And, long story short, he indeed help steer me the hell out of that situation.
Look Who’s Driving Now?
These days, if life was a car moving down a road,
I’m teaching the 5 year old how to drive.
And he’s teaching me how to drive too.
What about you?
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