Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 17
Don’t take being young for granted. You will never be 17 again. Enjoy being young and carefree and don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Enjoy the moment and everything it has to offer. You’re probably the healthiest and in the best physical shape that you will ever be in your life. It’s okay to be proud of that and want to show that off. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up and have adult responsibilities. You’re only young once.
High School can be some of the best years of your life. Looking back, I couldn’t wait to graduate high school and start living my real life. I even graduated a semester early just so I could get out of there. Now I wish I would have just enjoyed being in high school and everything that goes along with that. It’s a once in a lifetime type of experience and you want to make the best of it.
My high school sweet heart. The guy I was in love with at 17 is not the one. In fact, I probably was not in love with him at all, I only think that I was because I didn’t really know what love was yet. Yes, I found him attractive and wanted to spend time with him. I didn’t think I could live without him when he went away to college. The fact is that I can and do live without him. In a matter of five years, we barely talk anymore and I wonder how I could have ever been “in love” with him. We have both moved on with our lives and that’s okay because it wasn’t meant to be.
My best friends. I thought that I was going to be friends with these girls forever. We shared so many memories growing up together that there is no way it could ever change. We went to Homecoming games and dances together with our dates. We stayed up late talking about boys. Then high school ends and we kept in touch for a while. Something happens and our friendship ends. Now I only keep in touch with one of these girls on a regular basis. The other friends I have are all friends I made after high school. Does it make me sad? No, I think it’s all for the best and happening exactly the way it should be.
Sex. Most of my friends had sex at 17. In fact, most of them had sex way before 17. I didn’t. I waited until later. I’m glad I waited. In fact, I wish I had waited longer. It’s true what all the parents and teachers say about not rushing it. Sex in high school is very risky and dangerous. You’re not mature enough for it and you’re definitely not ready for it. I don’t think anybody who has sex in high school is emotionally and physically ready for it. The worst thing that could happen is that you’ll get pregnant or get a disease. The next worst thing is that you’ll get dumped by the person you just had sex with. Another thing that could happen is nothing at all. You don’t feel any different and you don’t know why you did it because you don’t love the person and just gave in because they talked you into it. Just don’t do it and just wait. It’s worth it. And if you absolutely want to do it, always be safe. It's kind of a big deal.
You don’t actually know everything about everything. This one’s a tough one to accept. I thought I knew most things about the world when I was 17. Looking back, it simply wasn’t possible because I had no experience or knowledge to know most of the things I thought I did. Almost ten years later, I still don’t know everything, but I do know more and that only comes with the time and experience that has passed.
Listen to your parents. In most cases, your parents want only what’s best for you. Take the time to at least listen to them before you make up your mind that they don’t know anything because they’re old. In my case, everything my parents told me and advised me about was true. I wish I listened more, I would have been much better off and had 90% less problems then I ended up having. Your parents are the not the enemy. These people know what they’re talking about. They’ve been through it too, no matter how long ago it was. Times may have changed, but teenagers still go through basically the same issues when they’re growing up. Just give your parents a chance. If you don’t take their advice at least listen. You’ll be glad you did later.
The problems you have now aren’t the end of the world. Seriously, the world will not end because the guy you like starts dating someone else. The world will also not end if you don’t get that car when you’re 16 or that job at the store your crush works at. You will make up with your best friend after that misunderstanding. The test you failed you can retake. It’s okay because all these problems that you think are the end are actually not a big deal at all. I wish I had the same problems now that I had when I was 17. I would be the happiest person in the world! Chill out and relax. This is just the beginning and nothing is as bad as it seems. Tomorrow’s another day and your problems are so miniscule that a good night’s sleep is all you need to solve them.
Stop and Think. I could have benefited a lot from this one. I wish I was less impulsive and thought my decisions through better when I was 17. I wish I actually took the time to think about doing something instead of just doing it and then regretting it later. I wish I was less careless with others' feelings and thought more about them then I did myself. Don’t make the same mistakes I did and just take the time to really think things through.
Ask for help and advice. It doesn’t have to be from your parents, just find an adult like an aunt or your mom’s cool friend and talk to her. That’s what I did. I couldn’t imagine telling my mom everything when I was 17, so I talked to her friend that I felt more comfortable with. Now I have a great relationship with my Mom, but at the time I just couldn’t tell her everything. Her friend was really there for me and I trusted her completely. She was like a second mom. I wish I had listened to her advice more because she gave the best advice of anyone I have ever known. Find someone you trust and talk to them if you can’t talk to your parents. Friends are great but sometimes you could use an older person’s perspective and experience.
Social Media. When I was in high school, social media was just getting its start. I know Facebook started in 2004, but none of my friends had it so I didn’t either. I did get Myspace in 2006. It was fun at first, but then it just caused drama. It was always about who was in who’s Top 8 and who commented on your page. I have to admit that life was simpler before social media. You didn’t have to worry about your boyfriend finding his ex on Facebook or your ex creeping on your pictures. You didn’t have to put your status on Facebook and let everyone know when you were in a relationship and when you broke up. Your life was private and you didn’t need to share it with anyone. It’s strange when someone doesn’t have Facebook these days though, it’s like “why are you so different?” Now, there’s no going back. I have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, although I did delete my Myspace account. I wish I appreciated the simple days before social media more. Everything was more sacred and special.
The cool kids. Okay, so I was never part of the popular crowd. I was way too shy for that and had no desire to attract extra attention to myself. I also never played any sports. It didn’t bother me for the most part because I had my own group of close friends and that’s all I needed. I did feel kind of alone when I had a class with all the popular people and none of my friends. I felt I wasn’t cool enough to be there and I didn’t belong. I never dated a football player or wore his jersey on game day. I was never a cheerleader leading the pep rally before the Homecoming game. Do I feel I missed out? Not really. I was still there even if I wasn’t cheering or playing the game. I don’t feel I missed anything by not being popular in high school. At the time I did think I was somehow not as important because I wasn’t popular. I felt I was overlooked because I was too shy to demand attention. I wish I knew all that didn’t matter in the long run. Many popular people peak in high school and it becomes their glory days because that’s about as good as it gets for them. For some reason, for the people from my high school, most of the cheerleaders became nurses, and the football players became accountants or other people in the business field. So the next time I’m doing my taxes, it could be the captain of my football team at my services. And if I’m at the doctor’s for my annual physical? Yes, the head cheerleader could be taking my urine sample and checking my blood pressure. Oh, how the times have changed.
Grades do actually matter. I actually knew this when I was 17. I was always a good student and kind of a nerd when it came to my schoolwork. I never had missing or late assignments. I actually enjoyed the learning part of school. It came easy to me and didn’t require that much effort. Many of my friends didn’t feel this way. They were smart enough to do the homework, but sometimes hanging out with their boyfriends was more important. Or having a minimum wage job mattered more. I wish people did take schoolwork seriously because it does matter. It matters because it determines what kind of college you get into, or if you end up going to college at all. Learning for the sake of learning matters too. The more you learn, the better and broader your perspective of life becomes. Like my 7th grade social studies teacher always said: “think outside the box.”
You probably won’t have the job you think you will. I changed my mind about this one a lot. At first, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals. Then they showed us a video of veterinarians performing surgery on animals and I quickly changed my mind. Then I wanted to be a lawyer. Who didn’t after watching Legally Blonde? I definitely thought I would attend Harvard Law School. Didn’t happen. Next, I thought I would be a Psychologist after taking my first Psychology class in high school. That one clung on a little longer, but about halfway through college I changed my mind and went in another direction. Just keep an open mind and explore all possibilities and interests that you have. Your dream job may be something you can’t yet picture yourself doing. It’s okay, it’s not time yet to decide everything.
Time passes quickly. Yes, the older you get the quicker time seems to pass. Next year, it will be ten years since I graduated from high school. Seriously, I can’t believe it sometimes. Don’t take time for granted and never think you have all the time in the world because you just don’t know that. Live every day and make the most of everything. It all comes and goes so quickly.
You will leave the town you grew up in. Most people can’t wait for this one. You dream of the day you can finally leave your parents behind and start on your new adventure all by yourself. So you leave to go away to college. Then you graduate said college. Then you move back home because you can’t find a job. The strange thing is, you actually like living at home now. You appreciate your parents more because you know what it’s like to live on your own and have to do everything yourself. It’s not so bad now. The town doesn’t seem that bad either. In fact, you spent all your teenage years complaining about the town you grew up in only to actually like it now. And it’s a great change to not have to worry about the traffic of the big city anymore. Maybe small towns aren’t so bad after all. I still have a love/hate relationship with the town I grew up in though.
Marriage. You probably won’t marry the person you think you will in high school. You probably won’t marry any of the people you dated in high school nor will you want to. Very few people do marry their high school sweethearts and that’s good for them. I can’t image marrying anyone I dated in high school because I was a different person then. I like different types of people and I am not so concerned about looks anymore. The person that you will marry will probably be someone you don’t even know yet, which is wonderful and mysterious and definitely something to look forward to. He will be someone that comes into your life at exactly the right time. Just wait, he’s on his way.
Nostalgia. There will come a time when you will feel nostalgic about your high school days. You will miss them. You will qualify them as the greatest days of your life. You will listen to the music you listened to in high school and it will make you smile because it’s like going back in time. You will wish you could go back and do it again. Only this time you won’t take it for granted and appreciate every experience that much more. You will look back at your prom pictures and be proud of who you were. Hey I was beautiful, you will think to yourself. What was I so worried about? I looked great and my life was perfect. I only wish I knew that then.
Time Won't Let Me Go by: The Bravery
© 2015 GreenEyes1607