Advice to your teenage self: 8 genuine truths you should know.
Teenage season can be funky.
You don’t even know whether you’re a child or an adult.
As teenagers, we thought we knew everything! Advice? (Don’t make me laugh in pages!)
We almost listened to no one except our peers. Some of us were puffed up and ready to flow with the trend.
High school meant almost the world to us. We were on top of cloud nine!
We cared too much about what people thought of us, how to please others, which guy or girl was interested in us, whether we were old enough to be in romantic relationships, our looks…OMG!
We moved in groups like a pack of wolves, ready to devour anyone who stood in our way. Kids can be mean too.
Teasing was horrible, especially if you were new in a school and tried to fit in(like I was). We looked down on others who were not as rich, popular, smart or stylish like us. These included: the nerds, the wealthy, the “honam p3 job” people, the teachers’ pets, the foodies, the rowdy and those who always managed to stay out of trouble.
Guess which category I found myself in….none! I mean, not exactly….
As a newcomer in my school, fitting in was almost impossible. So, I stopped trying and begun writing. I wrote…. everything….That could probably be the reason I enjoy reading and writing so much.
A note to your teenage self
1. Have a relationship with God and keep your family first.
Trust me, this is not archaic. It’s cool. It will save you from harm’s way and give you some peace of mind. Choosing friends to hang out with will be a lot easier. Good company and like-minded people influence each other positively. Be accountable to them or a respectable and trusted elder.
2. Don’t try to prove your innocence or good intentions to people.
They say, “show, don’t tell”. For the not telling part, you’re very good at it but show. Go out of your way to be you and don’t apologize to anyone for that. If no one thinks its cool at the moment, your uniqueness will make you stand out for good reasons. Your peers might dare you into troubled waters!
A note of caution, especially to the girls:
There is no free lunch.
Some grown-ups may pose as helpers just to victimize you, especially close relatives and family friends.Don’t take anyone for granted!
Being nice is not equal to being gullible!
3. You can’t change anything about your past. So, forge ahead into your future.
As a newcomer, the school environment did not seem safe. I wanted my old school, my old friends back. Don’t worry, you’ll meet new people: good, bad. They’re all experiences you’ll live to remember. That you’re not like the rich kids or you’re an orphan or you never had any parental love…whatever, keep hope alive. Your past does not determine your future unless you allow it to.
Don’t get depressed. Stay positive.
For every mishap, there’s an equal opportunity for growth. Use it to your advantage.
4. You’re not left out- Not everyone is doing it! It’s a lie.
Did you chill out with friends at their home parties, organize excursions on your own, hide in smoky corners with the opposite sex to explore? Don’t ask me to explore what, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Almost every teenager does! lol
Well, I didn’t. Everyone knew the kind of places I would go so I wasn’t invited to any of these “chilling breeding grounds”. It’s cool. You’ll boldly be able to tell others your story without any guilt or regret. If you rush, you’ll crash.
Its fun to hang out with friends. However, check your intentions and listen to your intuition?
As for romantic love, don’t get so entangled in it now. You still have so many years ahead of you. If you like a boy or girl, it’s perfectly normal. They’re cute right? Or smart or whatever.lol.
Let all relationships remain platonic and have boundaries.
READ ALSO: 3 characteristics of platonic love
Popularity does not guarantee success!
Don’t be popular for the wrong reasons too, like bad breath or body odour. If you don’t have or can’t afford a sweet-scented roll-on or spray, use lime or ash. Half a piece scrubbed in the armpits a few minutes before bathing will do the magic. Shave often too.
As for the pimples, avoid using all sorts of creams, use natural aloe vera juice and wash your face regularly. Do not touch your face often.
These simple personal hygiene tips can boost your confidence.
5. Have a bucket list.
Oh, mehn! I wanted to be around kids all the time. I loved seeing children smile. I wanted to wipe every tear. I wanted to be a wildlife reporter. Take pictures with bears, observe wolves in the tropical rainforest and travel the world. Well, childhood imaginations!
Then came writing. I realised that that was more important to me and that I could be a thousand things at once while reading and writing.
Don’t stress it. You can create a short term and long term list. Anyway, strike a balance between your academics and the funky stuff.
Write down all your dreams and prioritize them. With the available resources and support, you’ll know where to start from. Don’t think about how.
6. It’s ok if your what you thought was your “passion” changes or you’re not sure of what you want to become.
Ok, so at this point, I had read so many books that I was becoming confused. Don’t think too much about it the future as much as you enjoy the process. At a tender age, I knew I liked writing but I never thought it was anything special. Everyone learnt to write in school.
In your leisure time, read about what you intend to do if you have to. Knowledge does not go waste, it’ll come in handy even if your intended “passion” changes.
Many times I heard, “Even if sweeping is your talent, do it with a touch”. That makes you unique. What made me different? At least I didn’t need an angel to tell me I hated mathematics!
JUST FOCUS YOUR INTERESTS AND BE OPEN-MINDED.
7. Take risks.
As for me, you would never get me doing anything I wasn’t sure of winning. I was used to winning in my former school. Learn to lose sometimes and be okay with it, as long as you learn from it and the damage isn’t generational. Lol.
Prepare and take part in a spelling bee contest, writing or acting challenge. Aside from being a class perfect or cupboard monitor. Lol. Join the basketball team. You may not be a “d’bee”(a spoilt, rich kid), so what?
Use this teenage season as preparation for your future.
8. Don’t listen to naysayers.
They may ask you things like, “Are you sure you can do this?”. Believe in yourself.
Continue listening to influential elders especially your mother(I’m closer to my mum than anyone else on planet earth) and grandfather.
One day, I overheard them discuss me, “Don’t give it to her, she can’t do it”. Somehow, I was appointed and I executed the task with passion. Critics make you realize your superpower. Help yourself out. You can do so much more than you could ever imagine.
Kind of weird, right? I cared more about intrinsic value, even as a teenager. Maybe because of how I was brought up. Anyway, I now hone my craft. What about you?
READ ALSO: An open letter to my teenage self