Do you ever wish you could go back and have a few words with your teenage self? Seriously, what was I thinking?
We start sweet and innocent in our favorite Sesame Street shirt…
and then life gets real!
I gathered some thoughts and advice from fellow “life-seasoned” friends (thanks to Kaile, Sarah, and Jennifer!) We came up with a list of things we wish we’d known as a kid. (I understand that all life experiences are different, and I don’t pretend that these suggestions apply to everyone’s world.)
- Be yourself. Don’t try to conform to the cool or popular kids. Find your people! Surround yourself with others with similar interests, and don’t hide who you are. It’s okay to be different, and it’s central to who you are. It’s okay to act silly simply because you want to.
- Stand up for what you believe. Did someone say something offensive that made your skin crawl? Is someone picking on another kid? Say something. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way, but if you stand by silently, you’re a passive accomplice allowing their behavior.
- Wear sunscreen! Your middle-aged skin will thank you – or else, bring on the wrinkles!
- Dance. When the music calls…don’t wait for the invitation. Who cares if you trip over your own feet or can’t keep the beat – just dance. Let yourself have fun without fear of judgment.
- Get off social media. Try a week without tuning in to TikTok, Instagram, or Snapchat (because it’s only us old folk on Facebook) Take a look at the actual personalities and people around you. Experience real-world conversations, read a book, write in a journal, and reconnect with reality.
- HE (or she) is not worth it. Don’t miss out on fun with friends or family for a teenage love interest. He might seem like the only thing in the universe that matters – but he’s probably not. If someone cares and appreciates you, he’ll understand the need for a girl’s night out and family time.
- Don’t settle. Find a partner who appreciates and respects you and makes you laugh.
- See the world. Take a road trip, go camping, or hop on a plane. Gaze into the Grand Canyon, zipline from the treetops, or sit on the beach to watch the sunset. The world is filled with beautiful colors and sculptures waiting for you to discover.
- Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. There will always be haters. Express yourself!
- The teenage years are hard and awkward! And mullets come back around…
- Don’t interrupt. It’s not about you. Listen to someone speak and be present.
- Surround yourself with good friends. Friends who can you can depend on to tell you about the booger on your nose or hold your hair while you puke.
- Be kind. It sounds so simple…so why isn’t everybody nice? Choose to be kind because we’re all human. Your nice gesture or comment might be the only good thing someone hears that day. Kindness doesn’t need to be witnessed by others or get you a pat on the back. Be kind because it’s the right thing.
- Enjoy family time. Appreciate your parents – parenting is a tough job! Your parent’s goal is not only to keep you housed, fed, clothed, and educated but also to make sure you’re not a little jerk by the time you leave the house. (Whew – it’s a lot)
- Sometimes the best answer is to walk away. Choose your battles, and don’t pull out the fists (or words) only to prove you’re right.
- Abandon toxic people. Associates or “friends” who centralize their priority in your life are not friends. Good friends want YOU to be happy and support you without their gain. Friends don’t get jealous when you have a boyfriend, get mad when you don’t want to go out, or sabotage your relationships. Friends will follow you into battle, even when they know you’re wrong.
- Eat the bread.(Sarah, make the sourdough) Or eat the french fries, cheesecake, or ice cream. That doesn’t mean you should binge constantly – but allow yourself to experience the goodness of life.
- Learn practical life skills as a teenager. Do your laundry, go grocery shopping, order a pizza on the phone, change your tire, check your oil, and learn to cook a few basic meals.
- Wear sensible shoes. The pretty ones aren’t worth the sore toes.
- Live your life on your terms. Because life’s too short.
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