It feels like you have absolutely no control.
Authority is a challenge, friends are a double-edge sword, many of the stuff you are learning seem pointless and relationships are this messy thing you can’t quite figure out. Everything is too confusing; too real; too huge. You are no longer a kid neither an ‘adult’, or whatever that means, but responsibilities keep piling over your shoulders.
People say it is a phase and that it will pass: ‘things will get better’, ‘you will understand it when you grow up’. But the truth is that when you are in your teens, words don’t really matter. They aren’t YOU, right? How could they possibly know? Well, my friend, the thing is that we were once young.
We all have been stupidly wrong and been too proud to admit it. We also thought we found our soul mate and later had to cry ourselves to sleep. We all said “You are my best friend”, and we all thought we could achieve anything in life. And we survived. Even better: we learned.
There are many things you don’t appreciate until they are gone, people say. Your youth is one of them, and I want you to understand and realize how precious this time is. It might not be the best —or maybe it is-, but it is definitely not a time to regret but rather a period to embrace on its plenitude.
1. People that Failed You Will be Replaced by Better Ones
After twenty five years on earth, I can state that human relationships are messy and confusing. There is no way you can deny that.
We all have had ‘best friends’ who eventually became strangers and that first, amazing love that, well… might not have turned out that well —if it did, congrats!
When you are younger, friends are a huge pillar in your live. They are your gang, your pack and the people whom you most identify with. You probably share common interests, hobbies and, after all, you are growing up together. But the truth is that your expectations and interests will get in conflict all the time with others. Others who, the same as you, are trying to find their place.
Figuring out how to make relationships —of any kind- work is tough. For a teenager who is just realizing about all the social rules and norm, is even harder. I can’t think about all the fights and troubles and struggles I have been through with all the people I have met. But I learned something: Time will teach you about betrays and lies, but also about how incredible some people are.
Yes, you will get really hurt during the process, as everybody else. And you will hurt people even if you don’t want to, just because what you expect and what others might expect always creates tensions and conflicts. Just think about how many people live in the world right now. It is impossible to not get out there and find a jerk. That is pure statistics. But all that, all the messy friends-drama that seems overwhelming now, will help you to discern among the people that are worth trusting. And not only that, it will also help you to know yourself and realize what do you stand for; what are your values.
Some friends and lovers will be gone forever, but other will stay with you for the rest of your life.
2. All the Stupid Things You Did, You Won’t even Remember Them
In youth we learn; in age we understand. — Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
You failed a few courses. You lied to your parents. You got drunk. You fought with your friends. You embarrassed yourself in public. You were rejected. And you are still with us, right? Great, because I have good news for you. Even if you don’t believe it, all those things will make you stronger; they are part of the person you are today.
Somehow, everything converges at some point creating that person you find in the mirror every morning. You might like or dislike that person, but that is who you are, indeed. The thing is: there is no point on looking into the past. You can’t change it! So if you don’t like who you are, try to do better. Change. Learn from what happened.
I know it is hard to see the value of all those stupid and embarrassing moments, especially when those things seem like life-changing events. But life is way too long, my friend. At some point, all those things will be just faded memories. A great exercise to relieve some stress about all the problems you have right now is ask yourself this simple question: Will I remember this in twenty years? Or even ten years. Do you remember the fights you had in your childhood? Because I am sure you had a few, or that you did something that annoyed your parents.
If the answer is no, well, what is the point on overthinking it? In twenty years, who will remember that?
3. What Others Think about You Doesn’t Really Matter
We all have suffered the pressure of ‘what will they think about me if…’ Probably you are still worried about that sometimes. Maybe it is the way you dress, what you do, how you behave, with who do you hang-out… Thousands of things.
Let me share a secret with you: If you think carefully, you will realize that we spend our lives judging. It doesn’t have to be a bad kind of judgement, but we do it simply because that is the way we organize our reality. If you see something, let’s say a person acting weirdly on the street, you apply what you know making a judgement of value. And most likely ten minutes later you will forgot about it.
It works both ways. I know that trying to prove yourself all the time as a unique individual is tough. There are many confusing things happening at the moment. I know it because I have been there, of course. But the truth is that nobody cares. Or almost nobody besides your parents, who are praying for you to grow up already. But the rest of the human beings are way too busy with their own problems to pay attention to you. And besides, they have been teenagers too. With time you will be more and more aware about this, and all those worries will go away. And you will also realize that if somebody spends too much time criticizing you, a) they are jealous, or b) their lives are so meaningless that their best way to kill time is look at what others are doing.
Do you really think their opinion matters? Do you really believe that what anybody thinks about you is something worth worrying about? Hell, no. It doesn’t.
It is your life and your decisions, and if you do something wrong, well, let it be your mistake and not others’ fault.
4. Your Teens is Great Period to Explore Yourself
You won’t get another chance to be so free. Believe me. Yes, being an adult has some perks like economic freedom, no parents and so. But those advantages come with a price: the price of reality. Soon you will start feeling the pressure of getting a real job, finishing school, settle down, blablabla… It might seem far away, but trust me, it will be here before you know it. And, hey, I am not saying that being an adult is not cool. It is pretty awesome, but you will miss something. Do you know what is that something?
It is the ability to dream and be yourself. Is the chance to say ‘f*** the world, I am going to do this or that’. It is the energy to do crazy things and staying up late and live life full-time. You have the rush of youth, and that is a gift that will only last a few more years.
It might not sound like much but, Gosh, you have no idea how much I miss all that. You don’t have to worry about bills or taxes or payments; you can just enjoy time with friends and make plans and dream about all the things you want to when you grow up.
Don’t give up on that. Hold on tight to those things, seriously, because one they are gone you will miss them.
To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth. — Pearl S. Buck
5. Youth is Not the Greatest Time of Your Life
This is probably the greatest gift. Yes, being young and crazy is great, but the best part is that it is not over. Eventually the ‘lost’ sensation will fade and life will slowly start to make sense. You will then experience the OMG-I’m-getting-old feeling, and it is okay. We all will have to go over that. But what comes next is also amazing and it will be part of who you are, the same way that all the things you have experience before.
Casy Neistat mentioned on one of his videos that “You spend you twenties figuring out what you want to do and your thirties doing it”.
You will step-by-step start to trek a more profound path that leads to understand yourself and what do you want to do with your life, and all that wouldn’t have been possible without those crazy years full of ‘regrets’. It all converges together and you only have to look at people around you or even people that you admire:
Their youth shaped part of their lives today.
Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art. — Stanislaw Jerzy Lec
Call to Action
You don’t have to live scared of all the mistakes you are doing. You don’t have to give up.
Soon, all that will be in the past and the best way to don’t let that settle down is not look back but look ahead to be the person you want to be.
You only have to open your eyes and be ready to surf the wave when it arrives.
Don’t regret your youth: embrace it and learn, because more incredible things are coming.
Featured photo credit: Brooklyn Morgan via unsplash.com