“Don’t you forget about me…”

I drove my 16 yr old to school this morning. I don’t usually drive her as we’re close enough for walking, but sometimes she asks and I’ll grab my keys and we get in the car. It’s a few extra minutes with the rapidly-approaching-college age daughter. I’ll take what I can get.

As we drove to the high school, Simple Mind’s “Don’t You Forget About Me” came on, and I was allowed a surreal moment where I was driving to a high school with my high schooler singing a song I sang when I was in high school.

Yeah, it’s one of those weird moments in life. We both sang along to the very last “la la la la” and then she went off into her school.

I thought about the movie for a bit as I drove home via Starbuck’s – how it was five teens from different backgrounds, who end up finding their common ground and resisting being molded into compliant students. They refused to let the authoritarian break their spirits. Instead, they came together and realized they were more alike than not. They resisted and they found themselves in doing so.
 
And I wonder now, looking around at everyone – I was the teenager John Hughes was making this film for. My friends were those teens as well. We’re all adults now, skipping into middle age, and I wonder – when did we all give up and become so compliant? When did we realize it was easier to just blend? Is it because it’s just easier and we’re all tired?
 
I’m not saying rebelling and rejecting everything is cool. Bills still need to be paid, children fed, laundry washed. It’s more the little things, the things we feel make us “bad parents” or “trying to hard”.
Case in point – my hair.
I still have the ends colored. The teal has faded to more of a green. I get lots of compliments from women in their 20’s about my hair. But women closer to my age, when they do compliment it, do so almost wistfully, and add “But I could never do that.”
Why not? Well, I know why not. Because somehow, you’re credibility falters when you’re a 44 year old suburban mom with blue hair – not among those who matter, but those pre-disposed to judge you. It’s like we’ve all hit Labor Day and put away our white shoes.
I’m sure there are some who take it too far. The ones who put their dreams before their children’s needs. The ones who burn bridges and barns and everything else as they go along. I’m not saying be that.
But maybe…have you forgotten to be yourself? That person who loved bright lipstick, who loved to dance, who dreamed big? The one who saw something wrong and went “Hey, that’s wrong!”? Were you ever that person? Remember when growing up to be just like your parents seemed like the most tragic thing ever, and now you’re living in a house with all beige walls thinking that you’re too old for some things?
Is the teenager you once were saying “Don’t you forget about me?”
Would that teen recognize you now?
Will you walk on by all those things you feel you can’t do anymore?
…or will they call your name?
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