I can’t believe I have officially been an ‘adult’ for five-and-a-half years. Time has absolutely flown. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t achieved anything, because I certainly have, but thinking back to high-school… back to friendship troubles, puberty, pushy boys and peer pressure, I don’t exactly ‘miss’ it. But, I am grateful I came out relatively unscathed. Age 13-19 is a pretty tumultuous time in a young person’s life, particularly for girls. There are a number things that I know only NOW that any teenager would do well to understand. So take it from a happy-go-lucky, hard working, independent 23 year old…
The 10 things I wish I knew as a teenager:
- Your ATAR is pretty damn insignificant (In Western Australia, your ATAR is the grade you get when you graduate high-school). Firstly, unless you want to be a doctor, scientist, lawyer or engineer you don’t even really need a high grade, and even THEN, there are bridging courses, TAFE courses and many other pathways you can take to reach your goals. If you want something bad enough, you can have it, regardless!
- Parents are actually awesome! Now I’m sure a lot of you are culprits of shouting and snapping at your parents. Those days where your emotions are so high, and every little thing is tugging on your final straw. Hey, I’m embarrassed to say I screamed “I hate you!” to my Mum on a number of occasions as a teenager – totally unacceptable. But your parents believe it or not are actually pretty cool, they will always be on your team, always defend you and will be side-of-court at all times as your biggest cheerleaders .
- Everyone is insecure as you are. You’re not the only one going through puberty. You’re not the only one with hair under your arms, pimples on your face or a uterus that feels like its about to implode. You’re a teenager! Bodies are changing. Everyone will get boobs, bums and hips, maybe a little bigger, smaller and at different times, but you’ll all get there! Everything is normal and everything is going to be fine. It’s ok to be nervous about or a little bashful of your new body, but just know you’re not alone and you’re bloody beautiful!
- You don’t owe boys ANYTHING. Hear that? NOTHING! Boys will tell you you’re ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ and unfortunately you might even find out one said you’re ‘ugly’ (disgusting I know, but it happens). Boys will try and pressure you into sexual things… YOUR job, is to completely ignore them. YOUR job is to see yourself as so high-value, so incredible that you don’t need to rely on anyone’s comments to tell you what you are and what you are not. (Check out this post I wrote to help you with this one)
- Nothing lasts forever – in fact it usually lasts just a few days! All those fights and disagreements, those days where nobody will talk to you or your ‘best friend’ is hanging with other girls, they don’t last! High-school fights often seem more explosive and brutal because everyone involved is forced into close-contact with each-other every single day. You can’t escape the person who you wish would just disappear for 24 hours. This being said, the close proximity will often mean that fights need to be resolved/confronted much faster and so are often short-lived. Regardless, time heals everything and everyone’s human, so more likely than not that the instigator will realise the error of their ways pretty damn fast.
- You will most likely lose the majority (if not all) of your high school friends – After you leave school you go from being forced to seeing all your 100+ school-mates on a daily basis, to literally never seeing anyone unless it is actively organised between you. This inevitably means, you won’t stay in contact with everyone. In the first couple of years out of school you may still see many of your school-mates but now being six-years-out, I have a very new group of friends and stay in close-contact with around 5 of my school friends. This isn’t to say I dislike my school friends and neither will you, it just means priorities change and a time-poor work-orientated lifestyle forces you to pick-and-choose your social interactions. So focus your time and efforts on the friends you see a seriously long-term and don’t worry too much about trying to be friends with everyone. Quality over quantity.
- Have a hobby! Anything! Journalling, scrapbooking, walking, photography, even reading. Just pick something productive that you can focus your brain on in your spare time so your life doesn’t revolve around social media, drinking or getting caught up in gossip and boys.
- You don’t have to do things just because your friends do – Peer pressure is something that I can say I definitely gave into a lot in my teenager years. There were many dangerous and frankly stupid situations I look back on that could have been avoided if i’d have just had the guts to say ‘no’ Any friend that deserts you just because you won’t do exactly what they’re doing, is not a real friend to you.
- Everything that happens to you in life is setting you up to something bigger –This one I can’t claim as my own, as I learned it from the ever-wisdom-filled Oprah Winfrey. This lesson doesn’t just apply to your teenage years, but I definitely wish I knew it back then. Every mistake, argument, wrong turn, fight just any little thing, is just setting you up for something else, that will make sense in time. Honest mistakes will only ever make you become stronger, wiser and more interesting.
- The best is yet to come – When I was a teenager I thought I knew everything about life, that I had experienced everything, and I understood how life ‘worked’. As I get older, each and every year I feel more happy sexy and confident in myself. If you’re having a tough time, Your 20s rock!