If I Could Turn Back Time? (Mary Strand)

This month at YA Outside the Lines, we’re talking about going back in time to our teenage years: if we could, what would we DO?


In my teens, I played sports nonstop. Summers in particular involved five hours of tennis and two hours of basketball daily, with softball games thrown in. I wasn’t yet into music, which seems weird now, but I was CONSUMED with sports and really didn’t have time for much else, so music didn’t happen until college, and even then it mostly just happened at Brat Kabin, the bar where I worked. Oh, and dancing at Shenanigans during freshman year of college.

A grainy yearbook photo of my jump shot
and, as usual, a Big Girl trying to block it.

In my teens, I already knew I was going to law school. And I wrote a ton of poetry, and I liked to write generally, but I never even considered writing a novel. And I hung out with close friends at Villa Piazza and at basketball and football games and the usual places.


In my teens, I was still fairly shy, except on a basketball or tennis court or similar playing field. Or maybe not shy: maybe just self-contained, but to a major degree. Any shyness was gone by law school or in my first couple of years practicing law. But there’s nothing wrong with being shy, so I wouldn’t make myself go back in time and try to do a cram-down about changing that sooner.


That’s pretty much it. High school wasn’t perfect, but it was good. More important, aside from a two-year crush that went nowhere, I really don’t regret anything about it. In fact, I have few regrets in life, period. (Aside from buying the inflatable penguins for my front yard that I tripped over several years ago, which wrecked my left knee, and you can’t make me look at penguins fondly now, but perhaps I digress. Asshole penguins.)


There were two or three points in my TWENTIES (not my teens) when, if I could go back in time, I would say YES, not the no that I said at the time. But, again, not my teens. So if I went back to my teens, unless I somehow left a mysterious note for myself to say YES, there’s very little I’d do differently.


The person I am today sometimes wishes I’d gone to all the rock concerts happening back then, something that was completely off my radar at the time. The person I am today wonders if life would’ve been different if I’d started playing guitar back then, but even in college, when I listened to a lot of bands in bars – night after night after night – I didn’t yet have that craving.


So ... if I could somehow go back in time to my teenage years ... I would probably just play as much basketball as humanly possible, on knees that still worked. And maybe I’d talk, way more confidently than I could back then, to that crush.


He was adorable.


Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at marystrand.com.


  1. Penguins! I'd look askance at them from now on too if that happened to me! I can't look at raccoons as sweet, cute, critters either anymore. Not after the one that viciously attacked my adult daughter while she was walking her dog. Messed up her hand pretty badly, nerve damage left from it. I wonder who your crush was at Memorial. Mine was a friend of my older brother Mark. He was adorable too and he looked at me as just the little kid sister of his friend. Bummer!

    1. Raccoons! Yes, I can feel your repugnance for them! I can't say publicly who my crush was at MHS, but he was a year older ... and, yeah, maybe thought of me more as a sports girl than a date, but mutuality was there, too. Ahh, teenage angst! ha ha!

  2. This is too cool--I love that you'd just go back to enjoy it.

    1. Yeah, even though I *want* to say I'd go back and be more into music, I don't that's true. Give me a ball and a hoop! And a cute boy!


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