(Image credit to etin1111.)
When I think about my teenage years, I always wonder what I would tell my teenage self, if I had the opportunity. I’m only 25, not too far out of my teenage years, but I still think about this often. Here are a few things I have thought of:
1. You are going to make mistakes. You are going to do and say so many things that are wrong. You’re going to get embarrassed by this. But, hey, you’re not alone in this. Everyone makes countless mistakes in their lifetime, especially in the teenage years. That’s just how it is. Teenage years are learning years. Try not to beat yourself up too much.
2. Speak up. Speak your mind when you feel strongly about things. I know that you’re experiencing horrible social anxiety now. But one day you’ll speak up in class without fear. One day you’ll forget to be scared of people. I just wish that one day had started earlier. I know the social anxiety you’re experiencing is due to low self-esteem. But you’re beautiful, wonderful, delightful. You can be everything that you want to be, trust me.
3. It seems like everyone says that your high school years are the greatest years of your life. I’m sure that’s true for some people, but it’s not for you, not by a long shot. Anyone who feels miserable all the time in high school has better years coming for them, you included.
4. It also seems like everyone says your best friends in high school will be your best friends forever, or they should be. That’s also not true for you. Just because you were best friends in high school, that doesn’t mean that you have to stay friends forever if you’re not good for each other. I won’t lie, letting them go is going to hurt a lot. But it’s so much better for everyone involved. Sometimes the right thing and the hard thing are the same thing.
5. When you’re down and out and think you have no future, remember this: one day, you’ll be living in your own apartment, about to graduate college with a bachelor’s degree, married to your best friend. I know, because that’s me right now. You do have a future, and it is bright. You’ll be forgiven for your mistakes. You’ll be so happy one day that the depression you’re experiencing now will feel like a far away nightmare. When you think you’re all alone in the world, please try to remember that you’re not, and if it still feels like you are, at least cling to this piece of hope: you won’t always feel that way. I promise.
(Bonus: 6. Remember the Backstreet Boys and how you “ironically” like them? Prepare for that love to become serious after you see them in concert. That’s one of the best concerts you’ll ever see. You may not be “cool” in the future, but oh man, you do love things with your whole heart.)
(Written by Megan Flint.)