My earliest memories consist of playing house with my friends. As with any good game of "house", there are a few roles that are required. The mom, the baby, that one friend you punished into being the dog, and of course, the teenager.
In my younger years, I believed that turning thirteen came with the undeniable traits of being rude to your parents, obnoxiously chewing gum, and a gross overuse of the word, "whatever!". However, what I later came to realize (when I, myself, graced the age of 13) is that this is quite far from the truth (well...most of the time).
What I was surprised--and even a little let down--to learn is that the momentous age of 13 felt no different than being 12.
There was no radical personality swap, nor immediate outrage towards my parents, nor anything else that would denote that I had become this hyped-up monster known as a "teenager".
Along with all the stereotypes and expectations and parental dread that accompany a tween becoming a teen, I expected the years would be filled with nothing short of angst and anger and sass.
However, I was lucky to learn that this was quite far from the case. When I reflect back on the 7 years I spent as a teenager, the only things that fill my mind are happy memories. Don't get me wrong, I had my fair share of tears and fights and anger, but this is not what stands out to me.
13 included struggling over "IRLA" homework, breezing through math, making up nick-names so that my friends and I could talk about people at lunch, and kissing the Hebrew language goodbye (or so I thought).
14 included thinking I was incredibly sophisticated because I read the book The Help BEFORE I saw the movie, a tremendous war with Algebra I, and a sudden life-consuming obsession with One Direction.
15 saw me losing friends and finding friends, starting what would become a life-long relationship with running in the form of winter track and approximately 3 One Direction concerts.
16 took me on a trip to London with my best friends, gave me a permit that I had no clue how to use, and took me to about 2 more One Direction concerts (still couldn't shake the obsession...).
17 included a real license that led me to drive the wrong way down a 1-way street (and somehow live to tell the tale), college applications, college acceptance, and a love affair with Grey's Anatomy that I will never grow out of.
18 saw me decorate a graduation cap and pack my life into under-bed storage, leave my best friends to meet new ones, acquire about 300x more orange into my wardrobe, and One Direction breaking up (you can only imagine how crushed I was).
19 came and went with a random re-acquaintance with the Hebrew language (and the fulfillment of my language requirement), learning how to use a C100 camera, far too many calzones, and a lot of mistakes but even more smiles.
So here I am with about 10 days left being able to call myself a teenager, and a lot of sadness about leaving these years behind. The teenage stereotype is entirely wrong; people talk about the teenage years as if they will be the worst of your life, and while I don't know what's ahead of me, I am entirely sure that if these were the worst years of my life I nothing to complain about.
So while yes, there are times I rolled my eyes and screamed "whatever!" in my mother's face, this was far from the norm. And while yes, there were tough times, there was also more laughter and happiness and love than ever before.
And so if I ever play a game of house with my future children (after all, I guess that is the type of stuff that happens when you're in your *twenties*) I will always request to be the teenager, because it will mean that just for a few minutes I will be able to relive all the joy that those 7 years held.