This is probably going to end up backfiring in some odd way and my awkward photos will forever return to haunt me in the years following this post. Great.
I am 20 years old and it appears to me that I literally know nothing about life; I don’t know how in the world I thought I knew anything as a teenager. At 16, I thought I was a grown up, an adult. I couldn’t wait to move out. I thought I was able to take care of myself. I planned my life out [university would be finished by 22, engaged by 24, married by 25, and two kids by 30]. I think the funniest part of that was that I assumed it would be that simple. What about a job? What about bills and taxes? What about a place to live in? Who is this guy and where the hell do I find him? Kids? I’m a kid.
There are an abundance of things I wish I could tell my younger self. I’d go back and say not to try and grow up too fast because honestly, there is no rush. I’ve just recently realized that as someone who is 20 years old, there will never be a time for me to be identified as a teen or a child again. That might sound pretty damn obvious but I don’t know, I guess it was a bit of a shock. That time is kind of done for me.
I’m starting to realize that life happens fairly quickly. You’ll blow out the candles at your twelfth birthday with hot ears of burning embarrassment –blink– and be learning how to drive a car. It’s human nature to anticipate life but I’d want to tell myself to remember the different ages of my life and why they were or weren’t so great.
Your parents know way more then you think. As embarrassing and annoying as parents can be in the teenage years, when I think about it now, they were right about almost everything. And the things they weren’t right about, we laugh about now. I hope they don’t read this because they’ll never let me live it down, but its true; for the most part my parents were right. My dad always told me when, where, and how I was being stupid and ways to fix it. My mom could look at any one of my friends and tell me if they were genuine or not. In the grand scheme of things, our parents were people for a whole lifetime before we were born; they know enough, sometimes it’s good to just trust them and not question anything else.
Drama. God knows I’ve had my share of friend/girl drama. Who hasn’t? At this point I’m pretty sure it’s a part of growing up, or at least it was for me. I remember the days of rushing home to grab a Rice Krispie square and make my way to the desktop computer in our office to go on MSN and see what some girl said about me. (Typing that made me feel pretty prehistoric as I sit here with my laptop). And looking back now in all honesty, who cares what some girl in your class thinks about you? OBVIOUSLY we all did, heck I did. But why was that such a priority? Why are teenage girls so ridiculously mean to each other? I’m not even innocent here, I was a mean girl too! I just don’t understand the point of it.
Despite all the drama, if you can pick out the good friends from the bad, you’ll find some pretty lovely people who will stick with you and literally become your family.
Boys. Oh my God there are an infinite amount of things I’d love to tell my past self about boys. Boys are not everything; you can’t put all of your happiness in a boy. Don’t change yourself for a boy. Don’t date someone you’re not allowed to date! It’s a waste of everyones time. Don’t obsess over boys. Let things happen naturally. Never ever choose a boy over your friends. So what if you don’t have a prom date? So what if you don’t date someone in high school? These things mattered so much to me, but I’m still alive and good having not experienced any of that.
Pay attention to what’s happening around you. Think about other people’s feelings. Try to help situations as best as you can before walking away from them. Accept that you can’t help everyone.
Your body is yours. Work with what you’ve got, and love yourself. Don’t compare your body to someone else’s. If there’s something you don’t like about yourself you always have the capacity to healthily and happily change it.
“Listen to me, your body is not a temple. Temples can be destroyed and desecrated. Your body is a forest- thick canopies of maple trees and sweet scented wildflowers sprouting in the underwood. You will grow back, over and over, no matter how badly you are devastated.”
As promised, here are some quite awkward photos of my teenage years (still probably kicking myself for posting these online but whatever):
At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can tell someone before they have to experience life and make their own mistakes. I can admit I’ve done a number of stupid things but I’ve also learned a lot. I think that life’s all about making mistakes. These are just some of the things I wish I could tell my teenage self.