Growing up. Hoo boy. Welcome to the age of having to make decisions that will affect the rest of your life, tons o’ homework, balancing social life, and most of all, finding yourself. Discovering your true passions and inner truths, learning to be independent, confident, and happy with who you are. Growing into your own skin, so to speak.
I quite like growing up at times. With age comes privilege, experience, and newly opened doors and opportunities. Still, equally as memorable are the downsides of adolescence. The feeling of carefree childhood slipping through your fingers like sand, the insecurity, the worry and dread of the future… These are the types of challenges that most, if not all, teenagers face in the process of maturing, and while I’m certainly not a certified specialist in helping people deal with this sort of thing, I definitely have first-hand experience.
So, today I’m going to be writing down a few things that I wish I’d known about growing up. Below you will find pieces of advice that I’ve collected, as well as hard truths that I’ve learned. Here I present: What I Wish I’d Been Told About Growing Up
You’re Not Always Right
As you get older, you will start to view yourself as an independent person who has the right opinions about everything in life (it’s ok, we’re all a bit self-righteous at times, and it’s not always a bad thing), but sometimes it’s important to bring yourself back down to earth. Remember that things are not always what they seem, and there are reasons for things that you will not understand. Learn the power of compromise and cooperation, and really listen to what others have to say and understand where they’re coming from.
You Have Immense Power
Older people will always view you as less experienced and naive, but keep in mind that you also have power as a young person. Teenagers bring to the table fresh ideas, perspectives, and a manic enthusiasm that no other age group can muster up. Teens, being a large demographic, have valuable and valid insights. We’re important, so don’t be afraid to speak up and take initiative! You have lots of good ideas!
You’re Going to Screw Up a Lot
It’s inevitable. But being constantly afraid of making mistakes and looking stupid is no way to live. Most of the time, the things that you mess up are no big deal at all. Have you ever seen someone trip and fall? You might feel pity or laugh at them for a few seconds, but forget about it the very next day. That’s how others view a lot of your mistakes. So don’t limit yourself by saying “I’m going to screw up”, because everyone does it. And in the end, the very worst screw-up you can ever commit is to not try.
You’re Going to Change
In expected and unforeseen ways. For one, puberty’s a thing. Yeah, it’s not fun.
The other type of change is one that you can’t see. As a child, you may have been told that you are good at certain things, and that you should stick to them. However, adolescence may be the time that you have a grand awakening. You’ll realize that you’re not actually a huge lover of baseball; that, despite being good at math, you don’t want to to pursue a career with it; that you’re not actually happy with being just ‘the one with the nice personality’; that you don’t want to become a doctor or a lawyer, but wish to travel the world instead. The way that you think will drastically change as your worldview expands, and your personality and mannerisms will too.
Don’t be scared of change. It’s natural, it happens to everyone, and it’s an essential part of becoming who you are meant to be.
You’re Going to Feel Insecure. Like, REALLY Insecure
As you get older and more socially aware, you may grow more self-conscious and dubious of yourself. Things that you once thought yourself completely adept at, your faith will waver in. Maybe you will downplay your skills and positive attributes when trying to act humble, only to find that, upon closer inspection, it’s not in the name of modesty but rather genuine insecurity. You will find flaws in yourself that you’d never seen before. This is inevitable, but just remember, for every time that you are embarrassed by yourself or feel like a failure, there’s been ten other times when you were an amazing person. Don’t let your insecurities get in the way of having a good time or doing what you want- other people are never judging you as harshly as you think they are, plus life’s just too short to be spent worrying about others’ opinions.
People Are Nasty Sometimes
But most of the time, this isn’t because they’re a fundamentally bad person, but rather that they may be going through tough times. Think of the last time you were snappish towards someone. You’re not a bad person, right? You were just having a bad day, and it’s the same for most other people when they are cranky.
However, while it’s important to be empathetic towards others, you also have to stick up for yourself. If you notice negative patterns in a friendship, it may be time to consider cutting that person out of your life- but don’t be brash about it, as it may make you enemies. Surround yourself with friends who will always have your back, people that you feel comfortable and positive around. Remember that if anyone ever picks on you, it’s not you. Being mean for no good reason is a sign of insecurity and problems within the other person, and they don’t know any better way to release their feelings than inflicting them on you. If someone is bullying you, don’t ever take it to heart, because it’s never your fault.
It’s good to Break Away From the Norm
Go off and do a few things by yourself. Talk with people you normally wouldn’t, make decisions based on your own thoughts rather than others’ influences, and take positive opportunities even if it means you will be walking alone. Stop being a sheep, a follower, and make your own way. Question yourself and others, and find ways to see things from several different angles. Realize that it’s up to you to find out what life is like outside of your comfort zone, and that you can start stepping out of it right now.
You’re Going to Worry and Stress
A lot. About a number of things: grades, university, friends, family, etc. My advice: actually listen to your health teacher, guidance counselor, and whoever else, about finding ways to de-stress. Try to worry less about things that are out of your control, and don’t make such a big deal out of your problems. At the end of the day, you’re a young person with tons of potential, and you’re allowed to make mistakes. Nobody goes through life without a flaws, problems, and worries, and you have to believe that you are exactly where you need to be.
I said I was going to do a blog post about growing up, didn’t I? I’m a (wo)man of my word, after all.
And now for your regularly scheduled life update: despite my last piece of advice being about not worrying or stressing, I’m really, really stressed right now. I’ve joined this program where basically twenty-something high school students from around the city band together to create and sell a product, as a company. The company is supposed to work similarly to how a corporation in real life would work, which mean there is going to be a board of executives elected from the student body. I’m planning on running for Vice President Human Resources, and man oh man, I was literally having a panic attack just writing my election speech. Keep me in your prayers, people, and maybe I won’t drop dead from nerves before election day.
Alright, that’s enough ranting. I read somewhere that not complaining for twenty-four hours is an act that will change your life. So I’ve decided to try to cut back on my whining.
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Thank you so much for reading!