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For many of us, the years that lay between childhood and adulthood are riddled with memories both good and bad. Our formative years – otherwise known as the teenage years, are often filled with more emotions than we cared for, perhaps times we wish we could relive, and a sense of innocence that we will never know again. Some loved this time in their lives, while others wouldn’t go back even if you paid them a mass amount of money. I’m probably somewhere in between.
There are times when I’m deep into the chaos of mothering two young children under the age of 5, where I long for the days of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer video tapes alone in my childhood bedroom. On the other hand, being able to go hop in my own car and go wherever I want to go without my mom’s permission is nice too.
I do often miss that teenage girl that I still see traces of in the mirror though. She’s there underneath the emerging crow’s feet, the tired eyes, and greying hair. I see her in the pictures hanging in my hall entryway. She has a big smile on her face while standing side by side with her best friend at her high school graduation, and in another picture with her grandma at her prom. She also shows up sometimes when I occasionally get carded at the local liquor store buying wine.
I wish I could reach through the hands of time and tell the 15, 16, 17 year old version of me a few things. I would give her advice that would ease her mind and help to get her through some of those dark patches that come hand in hand with being a teenager:
1 – Your level of happiness won’t always be dependent on your popularity.
I know right now it may seem like the entire world revolves around who you hang out with or who you date. If you hang out with this person, then you will become an outcast. Or if you admit to liking that boy, then you’ll be labelled a certain way or shunned.
Half of being a teenager is trying to fit in and not stand out too much. We all know those “weird” kids that do their own thing and are often shamed because of it. Guess what? They are years ahead of the others. They are the ones that will go into adulthood with a leg up on the majority because they are already comfortable in their own skin.
So, don’t sweat it if you stick out a little bit or aren’t liked by certain people. In fact, embrace it.
2 – Don’t be in a rush to grow up.
I’m sure this is just what you want to hear. You are probably even rolling your eyes at me right now. But, there will come a day when you have a mortgage that needs to be paid, food that needs to be bought, and things like life insurance will be at the forefront of your mind.
Spend more time with your friends, do a few irresponsible things, and tell that boy you’ve had a crush on how you feel. Because before you know it, these days will be over and they won’t ever come back. Now is the time to be a little carefree and foolish.
3 – Tell mom and dad thank you more often.
You won’t see it until you become a mom yourself down the line, but they are doing a good job. You get mad when dad slams that garage door shut every morning before 7:00 a.m., waking you up since your bedroom is above it.
Stop complaining and start appreciating the fact that he’s leaving to go to a job that he’s not crazy about for you and your siblings. Next time mom makes something you don’t want to eat for dinner, eat it anyway. One day you will miss her cooking.
Your future husband will make fun of you because you won’t eat the egg salad he made because you’ll “only eat mom’s egg salad.” Just appreciate them. They love you very much and are doing the best that they can.
4 – You are beautiful just the way you are.
I know sometimes when you look in the mirror you can’t stand what’s looking back at you. I know you have acne and there are days you think you need to lose weight. You need to step away from the mirror and stop critiquing every little thing that you think is wrong with your appearance. The truth is that everyone is awkward as a teenager. You are not alone in this. Do not let the pressures of society and what others tell you what you should look like get the better of you. There will come a day in the not so distant future where you will be confident in not only who you are as a person, but what you look like too. You are perfect just the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
The truth is that everyone is awkward as a teenager. You are not alone in this. Do not let the pressures of society and what others tell you what you should look like get the better of you. There will come a day in the not so distant future where you will be confident in not only who you are as a person, but what you look like too. You are perfect just the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
You are perfect just the way you are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
5 – The boy of your dreams will find you eventually.
You will have your heart broken and you will be let down and disappointed by several different boys. A couple of them will simply stay your friend, one will never know how much you liked him, and there will be a couple that got away. In the
In the end, it will all work out the way it is supposed to because it will lead you to him. He will be somebody you already know and never assumed. A love will blossom from a friendship and from that you will find the man you will marry and have babies with. He is your soulmate. You just don’t know it yet. Do not cry over all of the others. They are not worth your tears.
He is your soulmate. You just don’t know it yet. Do not cry over all of the others. They are not worth your tears.
I think the teenage version of me would be all right with where I’ve ended up in life. All of those sleepless nights that she’d spend thinking about the things she would do, the places she’d visit and the dreams she’d fulfil haven’t all happened yet. However, a great majority of them have and the ride is hopefully far from over.