Vedashree Khambete Sharma
To Sixteen Year Olds
Of all the people, alive at all the times, in the past, the present, the future, you have the most powerful resource of all. Your age. Pay attention and believe what I say. You will never be this beautiful, this reckless, this insane again. You will never have this confidence, this attitude, this freedom again. Never again will you marvel at your epiphanies with quite so much wonder, or wonder at your capacity to be so profound. You will never be quite so smart or quite so stupid again. You will never look at the world with these eyes and see so much possibility.
You think curfew is tough and your parents don’t let you be and the world is out to get you and the opposite sex is totally confusing. Well, none of that changes. Ten years down the line, your curfew will be self-imposed (Early meeting tomorrow, mom), your parents still won’t let you be (what’s wrong with arranged marriage, beta?), the world will still be out to get you and the opposite sex will be as confusing as ever. Probably even more so.
But you have now. You have the struggle and the beauty and the glorious incomprehension. You have the incurable belief that nothing bad can happen to you, that you can take over the world if you want, that true love is waiting just around the corner. You have it all. And you don’t even know it.
So, I pray for you: May cynicism be just a long word to you. May you discover greatness before you begin your journey on the long road between death and taxes. May you revel in the new, the unheard of, the unexpected and the startlingly weird. May you remain sixteen forever.