11 Things You Wish You’d Known As a Teenager
We’ve all been teens, and we’ve all had the same problems. But back then, we were pretty sure that our problems were unique and that there was no one in the whole world to understand us except that pretty boy who made us gasp, “Oh my goodness! He looked at me and smiled! I love him!” It turned out that the boy was a jerk, and there were actually a lot of nice and understanding people around us. If there was an option to send a letter to our teen selves, Bright Side would outline these 11 points. Which of them would you include in your letter?
1. Failure may be the best thing that can happen to you.
Making mistakes and failing is always embarrassing. But the good thing is that you can learn a lot from your mistakes. It is better to be a teen who tries but makes mistakes than an adult who fails.
Adults fail as well. A lot. And the most important thing is to learn as much as you can from your failures and learn how to transform them into your strengths.
2. Learn to take care of yourself first.
No, this is not about being selfish. It is about helping. You can’t help and take care of other people if you don’t know how to take care of yourself. Learn to set limits, to cut out negativity, to meditate, to refill your energy levels, to filter people, to use sunscreen, and to drink enough water. Staying healthy, happy, and attractive helps to build confidence and attract people.
3. “Cool” kids are not that cool.
Most of the popular high school boys and girls are not really that cool. Their behavior is more of a defense mechanism, and, believe us, they are as frustrated about being a teen as you are — they just will never admit it. If a girl’s beauty blossoms in her high school years, there’s a pretty big chance it will fade by her 30s. By this time, all the nerds and weirdos will have gained confidence and shown everyone who the real “prom queen” is.
4. High school and college are overrated.
Let’s get something straight: education IS important. But stressing out about grades and huge college loans might not be. Unless you want to be a scientist or doctor, you don’t really need that Ph.D. Try to spend your time and money on something you like and something you are good at. Even if you fail in it, there is a chance you’ll know what to do with your life and go on to study something you really need.
5. There will be other people.
You’ll get over it. No matter if it is a relationship or a friendship that has ended, life still goes on, and you’ll get over it. Even if it didn’t end well, just be thankful to this person for being part of your life, and then let it go. One day you’ll realize that people come and go, and it has nothing to do with you being a good or bad person. It is just life, and it changes, and people change.
Every person you meet will teach you some lesson. If they leave, it means you learned the lesson, and there will be someone else when you are ready for them.
6. Growing up won’t give you all the answers.
You’ll be just as clueless at 25 and 30 as you were at 16. Granted, it will be different types of cluelessness, but you’ll still be doubtful about relationships, your career, plans for the future, and so much more. Just learn to trust yourself in the most important life-changing decisions.
7. Your attitude will change.
You will change your mind dozens of times. Whether it’s about politics, religion, or music, the thoughts you have at 16 will not be the ones you have even 5 years later. It doesn’t mean you are giving up on your principles, just that you are growing up and becoming more flexible. If you master this, you’ll be able not only to accept and tolerate all different points of view but also to have and express your own.
8. Take opportunities.
As a teen, you can spend all your free time playing online games. Or you can use this time to take every single opportunity life gives you. Going on vacation with your parents? Awesome! Volunteering on a farm overseas? Great! Trying boxing classes instead of a Latin dance class? Perfect! Even a school trip to a neighboring town will broaden your horizons and bring you closer to understanding what you want to do next.
9. Always have dessert.
Just accept the fact that your body will never be perfect because there is no such thing as a “perfect body.” But there is a perfect attitude, and you should develop it. If you really fall in love with yourself, you will feed yourself with healthy food, drink enough water, and have enough sleep. Your body will be grateful to you for that, and you will look awesome even if you don’t fit into a size “S” because it is self-confidence that matters. So always order a dessert, and don’t blame yourself for it.
10. Butterflies in your stomach are NOT love.
All this blushing, stupid giggling, and butterflies in your stomach are not love. It’s your emotions and hormones — basically just chemistry. Real love, not the movie-based “happily ever after” love, is more about the everyday deliberate choices of 2 adults. By adults, we don’t mean age but the personal ability to make decisions and take responsibility for them. There’s like, love, and lust, and, as a teen, it is very important to be able to distinguish one from another.
11. Your parents have been there too.
If you think your parents are your worst enemies, just remember that they were once teens themselves. And if they are strict now, it probably means they remember the stupid things they did as teens, and they are worried you’ll do the same. So instead of fighting over every single problem, it makes more sense to have a talk and try to understand their reasons. It can be hard, but it will prove that you are really growing up.
No matter if you were a nerd or a cool kid as a teen, you had to face adulthood one day. Tell us what you would tell your teenage self if you ever had the chance.