My whole life I've been told "these are the best years of your life." The only benefit of being a teenager was that you didn't have to worry about bills or major payments on things like a house or a car. Other than that being a teenager is pretty stressful.
Teenagers nowadays are expected to do things that pretty much make our lives living hell. We're expected to get jobs as soon as we're able to work. We have to juggle extracurricular activities and do at least 6 hours of homework every night and get A's and B's with a high GPA. Depending on our parents' rules, some if not most of us have to pay rent, insurance, and/or phone bills. And you're expected to maintain friendships and be social. With all of this and possibly more, you end up with a chaotic lifestyle that just results in stress and anxiety.
These situations are different for everyone depending on their interests, physical or mental capabilities, and their parents' rules but out of most of the people I know and went to school with most if not all of these apply. For example, a lot of people I know started working their sophomore or junior year of high school. Some started as early as their freshman year. I however didn't start working until I got out of high school. Thankfully my parents were more lenient on that because I don't know how I would've done it with all of the work from school. I'll further elaborate on that later but right now I'm going to discuss work. I got my first job at the end of August in 2015 at Spirit Halloween in the Westminster mall. For a first job it was great. I thought life was pretty good to be honest. Since its seasonal the pay was pretty good even though it was only about $0.75 more than minimum wage and $1.00 more after Halloween. The problems started to arise after that job ended. My family has been planning on moving out of state so I was very hesitant on getting another job because I didn't know when we would actually move. Well we stayed for a while and after my mom yelling at me every day I got another job at Sally Beauty makeup supply. Then my boyfriend shipped out for the Navy and I picked up another job at Michaels. The only problem is they're at complete opposite ends of the day. I worked replenishment at Michaels so I would go into work as early as 5 or even 3 a.m. and I wouldn't get out until 9 or 10 a.m. . Then I would go across the stress at work at Sally's anywhere from 12-8 p.m. or 4-8 p... It was hell. Fast forward a few months and I got sick of working at Sally's. They kept cutting my hours and I was barely making $150 every two weeks. It just wasn't worth what little I made and the physical exhaustion it caused so I quit. My mom was furious. I was getting five maybe six hours of sleep a night if I was lucky. But she was mad because "I would be sitting around all day doing nothing." I quit there in late July and it's now August and I work at Spirit Halloween again. Only now I go to work at Michaels at about 3 a.m. and I get out at 10 a.m. only to drive straight over to Spirit and work from 10am till 6 or 8 p.m. My mom is now mad that all I do is sleep when I get home. No matter what job I have or how much or little I work it doesn't seem to be good enough. Juggling those jobs is not only stressful, but physically taxing. I literally have to eat more food to get energy I don't get from sleep in order to function properly without passing out while walking. I guess you could say "the struggle is real." But moving on to the next topic, school.
Although this doesn't apply currently because I'm waiting till I move to California to go to school, it was stressful enough throughout high school. For those wondering why I'm waiting till then, I'm going to become a special effects makeup artist and some of the best makeup colleges are in the heart of Los Angeles, California. Anyway back to high school. When I think of high school I remember the Friday night football games, the good times we had in class, how much I grew as an artist and how I discovered SFX makeup thanks to Ms. Tragesser, my art teacher, and of course the all-nighters I pulled the night before a project was due. Even through the good memories the stress and frustration all the homework caused is engraved into my memory. It wasn't just the hours of homework I had to Google my way through; it was also the expectation of maintaining honor roll and keeping a high GPA. Short story time. In sixth grade my dad made a bet with me that if I got straight A's all year he would buy me an iPhone. Being the competitive person I am I said game on. I got straight A's all year and I even got a plaque at the end of the year. That was the year my mental stability would start to decline. I would then spend the next six years doing exactly what I said above; stress continuously about getting everything done, freaking out about getting good grades on papers or projects, getting little to no sleep because of everything I had to do and how long it ended up taking, and the list goes on, but I'm sure you know exactly what I was going through. It seemed as if almost everyone was going through the same thing. Why? Because in order to even go to college you need the required grades. But it only leads to stress about the same things plus the price of tuition and the insanely high price of required books you'll only use once. And that has been engraved into our heads. It basically went something like this: "In order to go to college and have a good life you have to study hard and do really well in school." What they should've said is "in order to avoid working at McDonald's for the rest of your life you pretty much have to throw your life away for approximately 16-20 years, depending on the length of your college courses and such, only to find out that you really don't have to have your whole life figured out by the age of 20. Oh, and you'll probably hate the career you chose when you were 18 or 19 so you'll probably end up going back to college when you're 30." Thanks guys.
I could've tied this topic in with jobs, but I felt as if it needed its own spotlight; paying our parents to live in their house. I see their good intentions on having us pay them for various things such as rent, phone bills, gas, and insurance since we'll have to pay for them when we actually move out but it still sucks. Let's say you're working fast food making minimum wage right after you get out of school for six hours and five days a week for a total of 30 hours. This is assuming you have no after school activities which would prohibit you from working as many hours. If you get paid weekly, your gross pay before taxes would be $247.50 and your net pay after taxes would be $196.85. Now multiply that by let's say four for a month you would be paid a total of $787.40 a month. Going by my parents' standards rent is $100 a month so you're down to $687.40. I know everyone's insurance is different and it also depends on the car. If I keep the car I have insurance would be close to $300 due to an accident but if I get a BMW instead it's down to about $200 (just to keep the numbers even) so that would make it down to $487.40. Since you have a job and school you'll be driving more so you'll have to fill the gas tank more which also depends on the capacity of your tank. Let's say you have to fill it every week and your tank holds about 12 gallons if you drive a smaller car and 16 if you drive a larger car. The average price of gas is $2.13 for regular gas. If you drive the smaller car you would pay $27.48 a week and $109.92 a month and if you drive a larger car you would pay $34.08 a week and $136.32 a month. Now if you have the small car it would leave you with $377.48 and if you have the larger car it would leave you with $351.08. That's not too bad but then you have to take into consideration how much you'd be spending on food in and outside of school, going to do stuff with friends, any other obligations you have such as pets or even a child in some situations, and if anything should happen that you need to fix such as a flat tire. So after all that you're honestly not left with much. And let's be honest not everybody is good at saving money but if you are that's awesome and you're probably going to have a better retirement down the road. Like I said before it's good for when we're completely dependent on ourselves but it still really sucks.
Finally, on top of all of this, we're expected to have good relationships with our families and friends. Now this is really hard in high school because everyone's changing and finding who they are. I will admit there are friends that we end up keeping after high school and you should hold them close and never let that friendship die. If someone stuck with you throughout all your weird stages in high school, all the pointless drama, the heart breaks, the anxiety attacks, and so much more, you should never let them go cause that's a true friend. Now you might be thinking of all the good times you've had with them and all the crazy stories you share but never forget those people who were friends with you then it sort of died out or just ended really badly. Throughout most of high school I was best friends with this girl and we were inseparable but by senior year we didn't even acknowledge each other in the hall. She started dating this guy and sort of pushed me out of the picture. It was a horrible feeling. Life goes on and you live and learn. But when I stopped hanging out with her my parents started asking if something was wrong with me. Their first question wasn't if the friendship was okay but if I was okay because I wasn't hanging out with anyone. The thing is that the friendship had run its course and I was so busy with schoolwork I didn't even think about finding someone to go out and do something with. The thing that bothers me about this topic is that people think if you don't have friends or you don't go out every other night that something's wrong with you whether you're depressed or just weird. But the truth is that some people just function better alone or it could be as simple as they're just too busy to focus on friendships right now. Yes, friendships can begin and grow when you're busy, but most of the time they aren't intentional. They didn't say I'm going to go and become friends with this person. It was probably more so that they were in the same class, working on the same project, or just saw each other a lot throughout the day. But no matter what if you are a generally happy sociable person the second you stop hanging out with anyone everyone assumes there's something wrong with you. It's annoying in a way because something's not always wrong. Sometimes you just get busy. It happens and it's okay.
The moral of this is literally that if the teenage years are the best years of my life then I'm actually screwed. That just means that were on a roller coaster that only goes down from here. I think that's subconsciously the exact reason why everyone's so afraid of adulthood. We all subconsciously make the assumption that if these are the best years then it can only go down from here. But that's not the case at all. Adulthood can be pretty great. It just depends how you approach it. Also like they say if you love your job and what you do, you'll never have to work a day of your life. So make the best out of every situation after your teenage years. I most definitely do not believe that they are the best years of your life.