Hiya! One of my best friends requested a, ‘things I would tell teenage me’ post, and I felt particularly motivated to oblige. This feeling was intensified by one hard cider (I am hilarious), and a trip to Hollister that boasted a ‘very 2007’ playlist. This may be a refreshing take on this topic, because unlike almost everyone I know, I really feel like I peaked as a teenager on a lot of fronts and I truly cherish those years as some of the best of my life. So, without further ado….
Don’t let anyone berate or belittle your feelings of love. It was such a trend in my teenage years to hear, “You’re too young to be in love.” It came at us from every angle: peers, parents, media… and it was weird. It’s weird at any age for anyone to dictate how you feel. To this day, as a happily married grown adult, with a mortgage, and a cat, and a boring TV schedule, I still hold a handful of those very green relationships to be the most valuable I’ve had. Devoting my heart to people, whether they deserved it or not, was crucial to learning the ins and outs of sacrifice and compromise, and paved the way for relationships to come.
It’s okay to not want this time to end. I was literally the only person I knew who dreaded the end of high school. When I spoke at my graduation, I ugly cried through three pages of heartfelt nostalgia, while my classmates anxiously jingled the keys to their new dorm rooms in their pockets. That’s really not true, but I do remember a distinct contrast of emotion between me and literally everyone else about the end. But, you know what? I’m older now; I’ve done the college thing, and the job thing, and bill paying, and scary doctor visits. Factually, your teenage years are a lot more magical, so cherish them.
Maintain these friendships. (And I say to myself, “You go, Glen Coco,” because I have successfully done this.) Let’s face it, if anyone can stick with you day in, and day out, through the most formative, and awkward years of your life, they deserve a gold medal. When I got married, I wrote a letter to each of my bridesmaids that somehow thanked them for teaching me how to love, and I so meant it. People will get married, move, have babies, land their dream jobs. Life will never be Blockbuster and slumber parties every Friday night again. Take every ounce of that in stride, but always let these people take over an incredibly special place in your heart.
Hold the phone. Remix. Damn straight this is going to be a refreshing take on this because why on earth would struggling adult me, give happy, carefree, teenage me advice, when it should totally be the other way around?
Advice adult me should definitely take from teenage me:
(There, this feels so much more right. The above stands, though.)
Continue to absolutely not give a shit about the thoughts of other people that suck anyway. Adult me has really struggled with this. As a teenager, I was all bright prints and band tees, and stood up for literally everything I believed in. I dated outside of my circle and stuck to my guns about my passions and dreams. I’d be damned if you had even an ounce of something negative to say about one of my friends. I didn’t do anything to fit in, because I just didn’t care. I am still all bright colors and band tees, but I often feel bad about myself for it. While I still stand up for things I believe in, I almost never stand up for myself. I stuck to my passions and dreams all the way through college graduation and then immediately gave them up. I let the words and opinions of others, about me, affect me deeply, when I don’t actually care about those people at all. Adult me, channel teenage me a lot more often. She was a badass, and did what she wanted, and let assholes know that they’re assholes. Note to self: Be more like teenage you, but with like… some professionalism.
Don’t question your intelligence based on the successes of others. When I was a teenager, the thought literally never crossed my mind that I might be… stupid? (This is not a word I want to use, nor is it something I think of other people almost ever. Well, except when driving. You get the point.) It shouldn’t have crossed my mind. I got excellent grades with minimal effort. I loved to read, and still do. These things carried into college where my only real stumbling block was the physical execution of artwork, go figure. Hey adult me, people will go on to be doctors and engineers, and mathematicians, and physicists. Good for them, but you never wanted that for yourself. Just because you don’t have a working knowledge of string theory, and you stopped caring about algebra the second you passed algebra, doesn’t make you unintelligent.
Try, just try, to carry some of this care-free attitude into your adult life. Whether it’s boldly being myself, tap dancing through Kroger, or just generally being more spontaneous, adult me should aim to be more like teenage me. So I’m going to end this on a happy medium…
Adult me: Teenage me, life is going to get hard. You’re going to run into troubles of heart, mind, and body. Someday, you might have less space in your brain and heart for dreaming, because it’s been taken over by worry. Be prepared for this.
Teenage me: Adult me, you worry a little too much. Everyone has to grow up, but you’d be sad to look back on all of your life and see that you let those troubles of heart, mind, and body totally consume all of the magic.