What I Would Love to Say to My Teenage Self
Teenage years is one of the most trying and frustrating time of our lives. Hormones raging, confusion, trying to define ourselves and the strong yearning to be accepted by peers (whether we like them or not) - these are the common struggles we face during those years.
Looking back, the issues and confusion that we face as teenagers are sometimes blown out of portion because we only had so much understanding of the world and what is to come. If it was ever possible to talk to our younger selves, it would be great to give ourselves some tips and assurance that things may not as bad as it seems.
With that, below are some things that I would love to tell my younger self:
1. You have a life time to make friends. If you can't find true friends now, there will be plenty of opportunities and time to do so in your life (looking back, I met some of my best pals at the workplace).
2. It's really not the end of the world if you break up with someone. Yes, you may feel so in love with that person - but honestly, it's 60% hormones talking most of the time.
3. Remember to always have self love. Don't do silly things at the spur of the moment. You could end up regretting it for the rest of your life.
4. Learn the value of money. It's never too young to learn how to properly manage money. Start small by saving a little whenever you can - a dollar saved is a dollar earned. Find some odd jobs and get a feel of how of the working world. Knowing how challenging it can be to earn money may help to teach you the value of hard work and to spend your money more wisely as you get older.
What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with as a teenager
5. Exercise more. You are not going to have that nice butt and flat tummy forever. Make it a habit to exercise and that will help you in your later years.
6. Don't judge yourself - if you get emotionally or physically bullied, it's not because you are not likable or weird. It's just that you are in the wrong place, at the wrong time and with the wrong people. Bullies victimize others to make themselves feel good, to show they are better than you - but that's far from the truth.
7. There will come a time when you have the freedom to do whatever you want, to make decisions for yourself. Meanwhile, don't be in such a hurry to grow up. There's a reason why adults make you study, don't let you stay out too late, don't buy you what you want, nag at you. If they don't care about you, they won't even bother wasting their energy and time on you. Don't harbor so much anger for adults who you think are controlling your life.
8. Find a hobby. I am not talking about the piano or violin classes that your parents make you go since young. I am talking about a genuine hobby that you truly enjoy (of course if you enjoy piano or violin that's great too). Once you find it, work on it and gain the experience and knowledge. You never know if it'll become a career choice for you. Having a hobby that you love can also help to manage stress - which will be important as you get older.
9. Have fun and try new things, while you still have the stamina and time to do so. As you grow older, your commitment level to things and people also grows. I am not saying that it's impossible to have fun and try new things when you get older, it just requires more planning and many more 'what-ifs' - life can be much less spontaneous when you get older.
10. Study/work hard. It really pays to work hard early in life and enjoy the benefits of it in the later part of your life. I'm not saying that only people with a university degree can enjoy life, but don't waste time idling even when you are young. A little bit of effort each day gets you a long way.
11. Don't make things so difficult for those caring for you. It's tough enough being an adult with all the grown up issues to deal with, on top of providing and caring for the family (you). Sometimes, they may not even have time for themselves and that alone can be so tiring and depressing. So have a little empathy and try to make their lives a little bit easier - remember, the world does not revolve around you.
12. You may only find yourself- who you really are, much later in life. So don't worry too much if you are not sure of who you are or what you want to be.
13. Try not to start any bad habits. Once it starts, it's hard to kick off (e.g. smoking, getting hopelessly wasted, biting your nails).
14. Don't be so stubborn - sometimes it's a pride issue making you stand your ground even when deep down inside you know you are obviously wrong. You could hurt the feelings of other people - so don't be too stubborn.
15. Don't become obsessed with your boyfriend/girlfriend. Remember your other friends too. Have a life without your boyfriend/girlfriend - friends are important and can be a great source of support, especially if things don't work out.
Was teenage years difficult for you?
16. Being the most popular kid doesn't matter in the long run. Life is not a battle to be the favorite of them all. In fact, it's so hard and tiring to be loved by everybody. Don't hang out with people just because they are popular or because you want more attention. Find friends who you genuinely enjoy their company and who you know will stand by you - these are the true friends to keep for life.
17. Read more, especially the news. Grow your general knowledge and awareness of the world around you by reading more. News is a great platform as it provides you with bite size information on what is happening, what people are concerned about and generally how the world functions. News may seem boring but general knowledge is vital to your personal growth as it helps in your decision making process, keep you interesting and engaging (e.g. information are great conversation starters) and also serves to protect you.
Even taking half an hour of your daily life to catch up on the news can make a big difference.
18. Spend some time understanding what potential careers paths you want to take. E.g. talk to adults about what certain jobs are actually like and what qualifications/ experiences are required, review your interests and research on what you can do to turn it to a career, select school courses that you see potential in ( instead of following what everyone else is studying). Your older self will thank you for it.
19. Get more involved in your community by doing some volunteering/charity work. Even if you are shy, don't have much time or simply don't have a huge interest - it will still be good to do your part once in awhile. There are many types of volunteering such as beach clean ups, visiting homes, event ushers, soup kitchen, writing excerpts, administrative work, packing donations etc.