It’s no secret that the teenage years of most people’s lives were probably also the worst years of their lives. We had to figure out where our place was in the world, deal with people not taking us seriously because we were only “just teenagers,” and forced to answer the demanding question of “what’s next?” senior year of high school. We were brats, stuck up, selfish, thinking the world was out to get us or that the world owed us something like we did no wrong. All in all, we were terrible during those years, and I don’t know how our parents ever handled us.
All grown up now, college graduate, it’s hard not to cringe when I think back to my own teenage self and what I would do differently if I had the knowledge I have today.
What would you tell your teenage self if you saw her/him today?
I know that I would tell my teenage self to stop complaining; the world is not out to get you. It’s not worth being miserable over something, anything, that you have no control over. What good does that do? It’s not healthy to throw a fit or get angry every time you don’t get your way. You’ll see that sometimes it’s a good thing that you didn’t get your way because something so much better will present itself to you that you wouldn’t be able to take if you got your way in the first place. So, when that moment comes when someone or something rejects you or your ideas, don’t get angry about it, don’t hold a grudge. Know that that moment isn’t really going to matter in the long run.
If I saw my teenage self today, I would take her by the shoulders and shake her. I would tell her not to stress over every little thing because, again, it’s not worth it. There’s no need to stress over the tiny things when much bigger things are coming your way. And there’s no need to stress about what the future holds because no one knows what the future holds; it’s unpredictable. So why stress about something that you have no idea about?
You may have dreams, goals, and ideas about how you want your future to be and that’s great—strive for them. What I’m trying to say is that anything—and I mean anything—can happen, even something you never thought possible in your wildest dreams. Sometimes you’re going to have to rework or change those dreams, which is okay, too. Overall, try not to put yourself through unnecessary stress by trying to take hold of something you may know nothing about.
The last and most important piece of advice I would like to give my teenage self is to laugh more, smile more, and love more. You only get one of these lives, so don’t spend a good portion of it unhappy. There’s so much to be thankful for, and so much to be happy about; don’t throw it away because someone unimportant hurt your feelings or contradicted your ideas.
Try to look for the good in everything that you do, search for that silver lining when something doesn’t go as planned. Make your life worthwhile and don’t let anything or anybody hold you back. Unfortunately, it will feel like this world is going to try to tear you apart or pull you down; but don’t let it! Instead, laugh in its face and keep pushing the way you want to go. It’s your life—make it what you want, and know that the more good you see in it, the happier you will be.
If you couldn’t guess by now, I was a very angry teenager. I was angry at the world and everyone in it. I was a Negative Nancy, for sure, and people hated to be around me because of it. I acted like a child when I was a teenager, blowing up when something didn’t go my way. It was embarrassing, to say the least, and I am ashamed of how I reacted to certain situations. However, I am so glad and so happy with how I changed my view of the world.
Something clicked in me - maybe it was as simple as maturing, but whatever the case, I became a positive, more optimistic person, trying to find the good in all the bad. I just wish I hadn't wasted so many years being miserable and was able to see the beauty in life that much sooner.