Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But I wish I had thought the way I do now when I was in high school. I wish I had known how beautiful being 16 could be, and I hope a few young people can learn from my experiences. So here are a few tips:
1. Most of the things you're so worried about really don't matter.
I don't even remember most of the issues that I'm sure I was so concerned with in high school. Forget the drama and just do the best you can.
2. High school romances are not all that.
Only 2% of married couples start as high school sweethearts. Even if you never so much as talk to a boy throughout your high school career, your odds are still really great. Don't rush anything.
3. Stop expecting high school to look anything like Disney Channel.
Disney Channel makes high school look like a cutthroat hierarchy, filled with mean girls and cliques and a fight to the death over who's going to be prom queen. In reality, high school is monotonous and, for the most part, pretty unexciting.
4. You're not that weird.
Stop convincing yourself that you're too different from everyone else to function as a part of society. You're still finding yourself, and that's okay. Because, spoiler alert, everyone else is too.
5. You really don't need to wear foundation every day.
This one speaks for itself. Stop waking up an hour and a half before you need to leave just so you can do a full face of makeup. Get some sleep instead. Seriously. You'll never get those hours of sleep back, and you'll regret it.
6. Eat that slice of pizza.
I get it. You think you're so much bigger than all of your friends, but I promise you're really not. And pizza is delicious. It's okay to treat yourself sometimes.
7. No one is as together as they may look.
Remember how I said in #4 that everyone else is figuring themselves out? It's true. Some people are just better at hiding their insecurities and issues.
8. That haircut is really not the best choice for your face shape.
Again, do I really have to explain? I know you're trying to be edgy and cool, but maybe learn to wing your eyeliner instead.
9. It's okay if you don't get asked to any dances.
I'm not trying to sound like a sour grape, but dances are a lot more fun when you're just with your girls. Please don't lose any confidence just because no one made a sign to ask you to prom.
10. Don't be friends with toxic people.
Even if they're the in-crowd, if they're bad for you, they're bad for you. Don't put up with negativity just because you're afraid of being alone.
11. Fitting in is overrated.
Anyone can learn to fit in. It takes a special kind of person to go against the grain and be yourself no matter what anyone says. Don't sacrifice your individuality because you're afraid of what people think.
12. Teen angst is kind of a real thing.
You probably think your mom is wrong when she tells you that a lot of people experience the sort of things you're going through, but she's actually pretty smart. High school is hard, and I think most people feel a little bit out of sorts as a teenager.
13. Do not prioritize your grades over your wellbeing.
Need I say more? You are a lot more than a GPA. If having four AP classes means that you're not sleeping and you're having multiple panic attacks a day, maybe consider making some changes in your schedule.
14. Treasure the teachers that invest in you.
The kind of teachers that will let you sit in their classrooms for lunch are truly a gift. Having an adult who's on your team can help you navigate some of the worst parts of being young.
15. High school does not last forever.
If you're not a hot commodity in high school, don't worry. High school is a very short four years, and you have plenty of time after to be whoever you want to be. Besides, who wants to peak at 16?
16. Love being 16.
Yes, it sucks sometimes. Yes, you're so misunderstood. But also, being a teenager can be amazing. You have your whole life to be old and responsible, so treasure your youth. Make mistakes. Live fearlessly. Stop pining for the future, and do your best to love your life for what it is now.