Here’s what I wish someone would have told me before I hit the teenage years.
Dear Teen Me,
- Don’t get upset when your peers call you “weird.” Take it as a compliment. Those same people will be envying your interesting life later on.
- Don’t rush to get a part-time job just because your friends have one. You will have to work your entire adult life, and you already get an allowance. What do you need the extra money for? Take a couple summers off and really enjoy them, since those are probably the last commitment-free summers you will have. And you will miss them later on, believe me.
- Take a year off after high school and travel. Don’t worry so much about getting a job–the work will come. Instead, travel the world. If you can’t find likeminded friends to go with you, there are lots of great tour groups that will introduce you to amazing new people. You won’t regret it.
- Don’t date a guy because you’re afraid of what he’ll think of you–or what his friends will think of you–if you say no.
- Don’t date a guy because your friends tell you to.
- Don’t listen to people who say cruel things. The things they say are about them and their own issues, not you.
- Don’t use your wit or humour to make fun of other people.
- When you’re in Grade 11 or 12, a teacher will talk you out of pursuing psychology and urge you towards journalism. Don’t listen–take a few courses and discover for yourself if forensic psychology is what you’d really like to do. Otherwise, you’ll always wonder.
- Adults don’t have all the answers, even though they sometimes act like they do.
- If a boy gets angry when you want to spend time with your friends on your own, that isn’t love–it’s obsession.
- If a boy tries to push you into doing something you’re not ready for, he doesn’t deserve to be in your life.
- Don’t hate your body or your face. I know it’s difficult, but someday you are going to look back and realize how beautiful you were, and regret you wasted so much time hating yourself.
- Spend your money on experiences (TRAVEL) instead of stuff. Anything you buy now you won’t want in two years. Trust me.
- Don’t stop driving when you get to college, even if it’s awkward or difficult to keep your car. It’s your ticket to freedom and independence.
- Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. Don’t stress over the reasons why or worry about being nice to everyone–some people don’t deserve it.
- This too shall pass.
- Submit your writing to someone–anyone. There are lots of magazines out there. Start sending your work into the world, and keep sending it. If you truly want to be a writer, don’t keep your stories to yourself–share them. Enter more contests.
- Talk your parents into hiring a professional photographer for your grad photos. You’ll thank me later.
- Never listen to people who tell you that you can’t. You can–and will–do anything you set your mind to.
- Enjoy your teenage years. Yes, they’re tough–some of the toughest years you’ll ever have to face–but you have incredible friends, and you’ll miss them later. Appreciate them now, and don’t regret a second you spend with them.
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