In one scene the son catches his dad reading his journal. The father then warns his son about his lack of life experiences. The father warns, “I don’t think you’re experiencing enough. The reason you are comfortable leaving your God damn journal on your desk is because there is nothing you’re trying to hide from me in your life. And that really worries me. You know, sweet sensitive guys like you, they spend their entire high school years frozen in place while everyone's running around, going to parties and getting laid and doing whatever. I don’t want you to look back years from now and think [just] about this girl.” I paused the movie at this point. I could have been a substitute for this young man.
You know when you are getting to know someone and you ask each other simple questions to explore your lives and thoughts? One question I find very revealing is, "what do you regret most?" I believe the things we regret show how we have grown into our current self and also what we want in the future. I always answer this question honestly: "I regret not being more rebellious in my teenage years".
I was a good child, always followed the rules and lived a (self imposed) sheltered life. I never attended parties I wasn't suppose too. I never snuck out of the house. I never ran with the wrong crowd. I rejected the belief that to make mistakes and do what we aren't suppose to do, lets us experience more in life and gives us life perspective.
While I am not wishing I had lived a dangerous life or a life full of wrong choices, I do wish I allowed myself room to explore forbidden things. I have had a happy life, but it is a life lacking profound experiences.
Hearing this father tell his son to go out and explore what his classmates are experiencing, I think, is very valuable. Yes, there is a balance and a moderation of all things required, but I didn't have any of that. That is my biggest regret.
Had I, as the father encouraged his son, done things that would make me uncomfortable if my parents found out, I would now know how to deal with that disappointment and move past that fear.
In all, I missed out on those teenage years of rebellion and self expression. If I had spent my teenage years doing things that would disappoint my parents, maybe I wouldn't be spending my twenties worrying about disappointing them. Stepping out of my parents shadow of disappointment and expectations is something I should have accomplished before I was nineteen. Instead I am twenty seven and still standing in that shadow.
The father concluded his chastising of his son with, “be courageous in your life”. This is why my 2014 life motto has a third devoted to being courageous.
"I will live with the courage of my heart, truth of my mind & fullness of my strength."