Many of us know the Katy Perry song, Teenage Dream, these lyrics are derived from. I was listening to this song as I ran last night, it was just the fast beat I needed to keep going. But all of a sudden each step I took became heavier and more purposeful as I really thought about what I was listening to.
I hate those lyrics. I hate that there are teenagers listening to songs like these and subconsciously digesting them as truth. Living for the moment, in whatever context, is not the teenage dream. There isn’t a dream, because we live in the real world with real consequences. I know, I’m such a fun sucker! (Feel free to quit reading now and go back to living in the moment, because it only gets worse from here).
Teenage life is a circus act of juggling identity, friendships, hormones and more. As a Christian it was a whole different ball game for me but better than it could have been. Without God, highschool would have been a much greater struggle. I definitely would have made worse choices, and there are multiples times where I am thankful I didn’t ‘live in the moment’ (among the ones where I foolishly did). There is one particular moment that I chose wisdom over emotions, and I believe it set me up for harder years to come.
I won’t get into details, but there had been a situation at home. It was a traumatic day for me and I was taken back to my grandparents house. I was 16 and had a life of my own, so I didn’t have to stay with my grandparents that night. I had choices. It was a Saturday and there was a party starting in a few hours at my friend’s house.
All I wanted to do in that very moment is go to that party and get roaring drunk. Just to forget, even for a few short hours, that the day had ever happened. I had never been drunk before and never wanted to, until that day. I was very sheltered from alcohol and in my mind it was the root of all evils, so it wasn’t like me to think this way. But life was hard and alcohol was looking like a fitting saviour. To be perfectly honest my attitude was ‘fuck the world’.
Instead I called another friend who didn’t get me drunk, and to this day I’m glad I did. Had I chosen listen to my emotions that day and gone to the party, it probably wouldn’t have ended terribly. After definitely embarrassing myself, I would have spent the next day deservingly hungover, and that’s about it. However it could have gone another way, and we’ll never really know. It only takes a moment.
Just ask the young couple who got pregnant from one night without protection. Or the girl who cheated on her boyfriend in a moment of lust. What about the guy who reacted with violence in a moment of anger, and ended up in jail? Obviously these are extreme cases but they can also happen to anyone.
For me, I think that defining moment was a case of ‘until the next time…’. There were more moments to comes when I hated my reality, and would probably turn alcohol to numb the pain, again, and then again. Next it would be drugs and sex to help me through. I know myself and wouldn’t put it past me. I am naturally a very impulsive person. When I want something, I want it now.
These days my challenges are different but the goal is ever the same; choose wisdom. It always pays off, trust me. Just a few days ago I had to do it again, and at the time I wanted to kick and scream. Later I was so thankful that I didn’t give in to that moment of weakness, and I had a big glass of red wine to congratulate myself!
Our lives are made up of moments and decisions; some are life-changing, many are not. Yes, enjoy your life and all of the moments! Be present in the moment, just don’t be deceived by the convincing lies of some of those moments. Katy Perry is wrong, there are regrets! Choose wisdom, not the irrational demands of your emotions in the moment. It only takes one moment to change your life, for the better or worse.
Are there any defining moments in your life that came to mind when reading? What do you think about the cliche of living in the moment, do you think I’m being extreme? Leave a comment.