Our teen years end up being some of the most foul, rewarding and absolutely ridiculous times in our lives. I've been doing a lot of reflecting, and it's good to know where your mistakes come from. There's 17 year old Tess on the last day of high school. There is a lot she doesn't know.
I wish I could go back and implant this knowledge into her inexperienced little brain. Maybe this post will catch you in time to help, and if you're older like me...well...you know the struggle of not having this knowledge.
Here are 10 things I wish I had known in my teens.
1. High school and school in general does not define the rest of your life.
It took me a bleak trip back to my hometown to realize this, but no matter where you come from you can change and rise to any occasion if you push yourself hard enough.
2. Your friends are going to change, but those who you really care for will stay with you.
It's just a fact of life, you can't hold on to things that you outgrow...and sometimes that means people. It may be a little pessimistic, but I wish I could have accepted this fact in my teens, it would have made some transitional pains easier.
3. You have to appreciate your parents, no matter how irritating and overbearing they may seem. You will miss them.
I definitely took time with my parents for granted, and now that I'm grown up, out of college, and moved out, I miss simpler times spent with my family. Make sure you treat them with kindness and appreciate the time you have with them, because when you leave, things will change.
4. If you treat someone like shit, it will come back to you.
In my immaturity I definitely made some mistakes and didn't treat others well all the time. Karma will come back to you if you're a jerk, so do your best to be kind to your fellow classmates and friends. High school is a petty time with a lot of heartbreak and jealousy involved...just keep that in mind before you make fun of someone.
5. EVERYONE has their own struggle, and you never know what people are dealing with.
In my life now, I always try to practice a bit of humility and understanding. Sometimes when things get hard in our own lives we can take it out on others, and make it a point to blame others for what we're going through. When we're in our teens, the world seems to revolve around our angst and inner-turmoil. Just remember it's that way for everyone. No matter what lies on the surface, we have to be cognizant of others' inner struggles.
6. Being the best at everything won't solve your problems.
I had a compulsion to succeed, and to an extent still do. I put 90 percent of my energy into excelling in school, being liked by people, and being great at sports. I missed out on a lot in high school, and ended up working so hard that I lost a lot of that youthful zest that begot most of my friends. I was born old, and felt a disconnect from a lot of people...I thought the achievements would bring me peace, but I now know that it's not the solution, only part of the problem.
7. Prom, football games and actual high-school experiences don't come around all that much, so you should do your best to enjoy them.
I was miserable for a lot of high school, and although it's not "cool" or "aloof" to really get into high school shit, I wish I had a little bit more, because sometimes when you spend so much time trying to be a fucking renegade, you lose sight of actually being a kid.
High school wasn't my thing, and I knew I'd be happier once I left, but in retrospect, I could have made more of an effort.
8. First time experiences of any kind are going to be hard.
I thought everything was supposed to come to me because I was a nice kid with a good work-ethic. Learning to drive, having your first boyfriend, getting your first job...all of it is going to be hard, but it will get easier with age and time.
9. All the shitty-ness of being a teenager will fade with time, and you will one day feel comfortable in your own skin.
You're not going to be stuck in your angst and turmoil forever. Light will come, you just have to keep working at yourself, experience life and remember that it will get better! So many teenagers make the mistake of believing this confusing time will be infinite. It may take a while, but someday you'll feel better, and you may even wake up with a cool job, and a family of your own.
10. You're going to get your heart broken, so just make the best of it...it's not the end of the world.
Your high school and teenage relationships are going to feel really insignificant when you're older, so don't let your heartbreak get you down for too long. Make sure that you don't put all of your eggs in the proverbial basket...and keep your head up.
Above all else, make the most of it!
Go out and get wild. Get your heart broken. Cry. Laugh. Make mischief. Stay safe.
Your teen years don't last forever and that's an amazing thing. Make the best of this unique time by taking opportunities, working hard, having fun and preparing yourself for the shit-storm that is adult life. The act of being in-between childhood and adulthood is scary, but you will make it through!