When growing up, you think you know everything as a teenager. Even when everyone around you is constantly saying you don’t. However, as you grow older, even a few years can teach you so many new lessons, and you realize you might just have a few things to learn.
I just turned 21, and even though I’m just getting out of those oh-so-wonderful teenage years, I feel that I have grown so much. My minimal years in my twenties have made such a difference in who I am and what I know. So while I have absolutely no qualifications, other than experience, to give you advice, I’m going to anyway.
1. Friends come and go, and no it’s not the end of the world.
Friendship breakups can be complex and have so many phases, as this blog post talks about. They can be a whirlwind of emotions, but in the end, YOU WILL LIVE!
I’ve lost a fair share of friends in my life, and at the time I was heartbroken. As a 21-year-old now though, I realize that it’s okay to miss them, but it’s not the end of the world.
During our teenage years, we are constantly evolving, changing our hobbies, what music we like, the food we enjoy, and just as much as we change, so does everyone else.
Our friendships will change too, and this is not an awful thing. While it can be sad, just know it happens for a reason. There are so many people in the world and so many opportunities to form friendships, so don’t let yourself stay down for too long.
2. You are not too old for stuffed animals.
You are NEVER too old for stuffed animals. This may be me trying to reason because I have far too many myself, but let’s just say it’s not.
As people get older many pack away the aspects of their childhood that made them who they were, but that shouldn’t be how it is. Enjoy what you want. You’re still so young in retrospect and no one should be able to tell you what you’re “too old for”.
This can apply to anything honestly, stuffed animals just happen to be my favorite. Enjoy your youth while you can and make it last as long as possible (but not too long) because being young is some of the most freeing years of your life.
3. It’s okay to not know what you want to do in life.
When I was a teenager I had no clue what I wanted to do in life, and where I wanted to end up. Would I move away, or stay with my family? What would my career path be, and did I want to go to a University? These are all questions I asked myself, and at the time I was clueless about their answers.
There seems to be so much pressure on you to find what your “future” is going to be.
You don’t have to know, though. I didn’t, and I feel like I’m doing pretty good right now. There’s always time to think about the future, but don’t worry yourself so much about it that you don’t enjoy the present. That’s a cheesy saying, but I wish my teenage self would have taken a few steps back and actually enjoyed who she currently was, instead of caring so much about who she would be in 5 or 10 years.
4. Find a hobby you really enjoy.
I picked up on reading once I had gotten into my 20s. The first thought I had when I started reading was “Why didn’t I read more in high school?”.
Your hobby doesn’t have to be reading, it can be anything you really enjoy. Even switching from hobby to hobby is still great to have in your life. A good hobby helps with so much. It offers stress relief, an activity for those times when you’re really bored, or can help you connect with others who have the same interests. Just a simple hobby can open you up to a world of possibilities.
Some hobbies don’t even require you to leave the house and can be easy to pick up on. A blog post about hobbies gained during lockdown shows simple activities that can be done from the comfort of your own home!
5. Change isn’t always a bad thing.
I used to HATE change with a passion, and I will admit it still fears me a little to this day. Fearing change is not a bad thing though, it’s normal for humans. Just don’t think all change is bad.
Some of my favorite memories I’ve made have been because of changes in my life. Whether moving out of the only home I had ever lived in, going out to new places, or just getting to know new people in general. All of these can be nerve-wracking at first, but they are NOT bad. Embrace change and the new opportunities and experiences it can offer your life.
6. ACTUALLY, compliment more people.
I remember when I was making my bucket list for the year I would always put “compliment more people”. I not only thought it was just a nice thing to do but felt like it would help my social anxiety. Did I ever do it though? NO! Yet I would still tell others to do it.
A compliment means a lot more than we think. Saying “I really like your outfit.” or “Your hair looks great.” is just a simple act for us but can mean so much to someone else.
In the tech-savvy world we live in real-life compliments (that aren’t from creepy strangers) are dwindling away. We need to change this. Even though I still struggle with the idea of having to approach strangers, I will continue to preach the importance of compliments in life.
7. Not everyone is watching what you are doing.
Remember that one time you fell in the hallway during your second year of high school? Or that time you raised your hand in class just to completely get the question wrong? Oh, you don’t? Neither does anyone else.
Sometimes it feels that everyone around us is judging what we’re doing, looking for the split second we make a mistake. Going to a public high school with people I had known since we were kindergarteners made me feel so aware of every action I took or every choice I made before coming to school.
No one cares, though. And if anyone does, they are not worth your stress. Honestly, though, most people are not looking at your hair, the way you walk, and all the other micro flaws you believe yourself to have. People are all living their own complex and busy lives, and everyone around you is going through the same stage of being an awkward teenager.
8. Follow the 5-by-5 rule.
If you’re on social media most people know about the 5-by-5 rule. Just in case you don’t, it means “If it won’t matter in five years, don’t stress about it for five seconds.” While it takes a lot of effort to actually listen to this rule, it’s a great thing to follow.
My teenage self was the biggest worrier of all time. Any small detail I would stress over, thinking it was somehow the end of my existence. I will admit I am still working on it. Having the 5-by-5 mindset has really helped me out, though. It has given me an idea to hold on to when I start to care a little too much about an issue that is not that serious.
Along with the 5-by-5 rule, there are so many great ways to help calm worrying and anxiety. A blog post that focuses on ways to get you out of your “worry cycle” gives even more ways to better your mindset.
Now it’s your turn!
Knowing what I do now, there are many things I may have done differently as a teenager. That’s why I leave these small tips and rules with you, because even if I can’t go back and change anything, maybe someone out there might just find my small wisdom useful.