Advice to my teenage self
My teenage years seem such an age ago. It’s a time I thought I’d left in the history books. However, now I have children I find myself going back there. Being a teenager is hard. You are no longer a small child and are expected to behave like an adult, but yet you are not an adult. You have no adult experiences. Then you also feel that you should be treat like one and can’t understand why you are not. I remember being rather contrary as a teenager. I think it was my way of having an opinion when often I didn’t have an opinion because I didn’t understand! It’s a confusing time as you transition into adulthood. You start to take in what is going on in the world around you.
I wonder how my children will deal with their teenage years. What will they go through and how will they cope. I think they have more pressures on them than what my generation did. Their life is on social media. They are subject to a greater scrutiny than we were. The world is competitive and often cruel. I hope that they will be able to see through the cruelty, to have compassion and see the beauty the world has to offer. I want them to be happy and fulfilled.
Looking back I had so many hang ups about myself, unnecessarily. I know that to a large extent my children will find their own way, but if I can pass on any advice to them I will. What happens to us can shape us but it doesn’t have to define us!
If I could go back and give my teenage self some advice it would be this.
- It doesn’t matter that you don’t fit in. It doesn’t matter that you not in the clever group or the popular group or the sporty or naughty group. You are just you and that’s ok.
- It doesn’t matter that within your small group of friends you feel you’re the odd one out. You are just you and that is ok.
- It doesn’t matter that you aren’t achieving the standards expected of you, you have a lot going on at home that nobody knows about. Speak to someone. Let them know you are struggling. Don’t suffer alone.
- Don’t be scared to ask or answer questions in class. Quite often they are valid.
- Don’t be afraid of succeeding. It might not be seen as ‘cool’ but ‘cool’ isn’t going to get you anywhere in life.
- Grab opportunities, if you don’t someone else will. You are good enough and you can do it.
- It might seem as though everyone has it all figured out but actually they haven’t, in fact I don’t think we ever have it all figured out!
- Speak up. You have some valid opinions to add to the discussion.
- Chill out and enjoy having no responsibilities, there’s not many years left until you’ll have loads of responsibilities.
- School is important, but who you are as a person is more important. Think integrity and values.
- Don’t give in to pressures from peers. Just because they think it’s a good idea doesn’t mean you have to (I sound like my mother now!). Generally speaking someone who tries to make you do something you don’t want to, has no respect for you. Drop them, they are not your friend.
- Be like Bob Marley…”Don’t worry, ‘cause every little thing, is gonna be alright.”