I watched an old episode of Northern Exposure last night in which 30 year old Maggie encounters her 15 year old self (imagination runs amok in this Alaskan town sometimes). Maggie's 15 year old self was mortified when she realized who Maggie had become at the ripe old age of 30. This older Maggie was no where near what the younger Maggie thought she would be. Younger Maggie had assumed that older Maggie would have a prestigious law practice and would be married, with two beautiful children and blended into the genteel life of Grosse Point, Michigan. Maggie the elder does not see the need to ever get married, may or may not have children and loves her adventurous life as a bush pilot in remote Alaska. My, how people change. Naturally, the episode set me to thinking about how such an encounter would go in my life.
I turned 15 the year Martin Luther King Jr and Robert Kennedy were assassinated. This was the year after San Francisco's Summer of Love - a summer also known as the Long, Hot Summer for the race riots that battered the country. I was an aware 15 year old, who paid attention to politics and even thought about politics as a career. I watched the Democratic Convention in Chicago with fascination and was shocked by the riots. I was already inclined towards pacifism and anti-war activities and, at 15, I was idealistic and, yes, naive. Who isn't at 15? And, in those years, it was hard to be a thoughtful young person and not get pulled into the fray. After all, you weren't supposed to trust anyone over 30.
But, beyond that political awareness, I can't tell you who or what I wanted to be at 15. I don't think I thought much about getting married, though I am sure I assumed that I would have a family. I am sure I assumed I would go to college but the details were vague. My parents had not gone to college and there was no college account so I suspect I knew, as a 15 year old, that I would be going to the local public college and living at home. It's odd for me to think about myself at 15. I can only get a small glimpse of who I was and that is based on what I knew was going on in the world around me at the time.