June 16, 2013 by Diana M
Being here, in my old room at my parents’ house, sure does bring back a lot of memories. My tantrums, my existential crisis, my moments of pure unaltered joy, my fights with my parents, my fights with my older brother, my fights with my friends, my first texts with my crush, my first diaries; it all just comes rushing back.
I was 18 when I was a senior in high school and 19 when I left my parents’ house to go to college. And looking back at those days I keep on wondering why I felt like the world was crashing down on me every three or four days. If I knew then what I know now, I would probably be much calmer, made much better decisions, and probably would have stopped stressing about every little thing that didn’t quite go right in my life.
I learned a lot of things about living, loving and laughing in the past couple of years, and yet I feel like I barely learned a crumb of what’s truly out there.
But I do want to share my crumb with you, hoping that maybe there are other people out there that know the same crumb.
1. Life is just beginning…
One of the things you fail to realize as a teenager is the huge amount of life you are about to live, after you stop being a teenager. It’s very hard for you to know patience at this young age, when you feel like your entire world may be crashing down on you just because you experienced your first heartbreak.
Finding yourself at this age can be a pretty hard thing to do, while learning to push against what others think you should be. But if you take it one day at a time, and realize that life is just beginning for you, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll survive these years.
2. …and it’s not the end of the world
When you’re 18, everything you feel seems amplified, and as if it will be like this until the end of your days. It’s like a constant feeling of being PMS-ed.
Love gets deeper, hearts break easier, arguments get hotter, and doors are easily slammed in each other’s faces. Even if it may feel like it, you have to realize it’s not the end of the world. There will always be a tomorrow, and soon enough those tomorrows will make you see your entire life with different lenses. It’s like putting on your 3D goggles for the first time and be amazed of how different everything truly is.
3. You will find your niche
I remember being 16 and constantly complaining to my best friend, who was living in a foreign country by then, that I couldn’t find my place anywhere, or with anybody. I felt alone and confused, and as if I just wasn’t good enough for anything.
He would always calm me down, by saying: “Don’t worry. You will find your niche. You will find your place in the world.” As much as I wanted to believe him at that time, I couldn’t help but feeling those intense negative emotions. It took me a couple of years, but I did really find what I was looking for.
I found parts of my niche, and I found a little corner in this big, big world where I can feel like I belong, even though I am still looking for more.
4. You shouldn’t take people so seriously…
Your entourage is probably your biggest influence right now. But that doesn’t mean that they know what’s right for you. You’ll have your parents and family on one side, telling you what to do and how to behave, you’ll have your teachers on another side, and you’ll have your friends, or just people your age on yet another side, telling you what to do and who to be.
But don’t take people so seriously. Don’t give in to the gossiping and the bullying of your peers, and don’t ever feel like you’re alone and as if you don’t have one good friend around to talk to. If you look around, you’ll see people, good people, willing to be there for you. Just listen to your heart when it comes to selecting who you want to have around you, because those are the persons that will exert a great deal of influence in your life.
5. …but understand where they’re coming from
Don’t choose to ignore anyone who’s not seeing things the way you are. Don’t shut out the people that care for you, just because you think they don’t understand who you are. Give them a change, and try to see things from their perspective. You have to understand that people view things differently in general, and just because you see blue when they see red, doesn’t mean you’re not both looking at the same thing.
6. Your experiences will shape you
Everything you’ll be going through and the way you choose to react to what’s going around you, will shape you into who you will become in the future. This may be the time to be wild and careless, but it’s also the time to make careful choices about the person you want to be. Your actions and reactions will slowly build up your character. So who will you choose to be? The person who regrets his youth or the person whose proud of his achievements?
7. Read, learn, do
It may not be the coolest thing to do, but trust me when I say this: read as much as you can, get informed about what’s going on around you, because information is power. Learn anything and everything you can, because these are the years that you can do that, and by reading and learning you will put pieces of the puzzle together in order to figure out what You are made of.
Also, do. Get involved in voluntary activities, any kind of voluntary activities. Don’t just stand there, watching TV, or watching your life go by day in and day out. Get out there, and experience life, experience people, experience compassion, and passion, and kindness, and what is like to change someone’s life, without expecting anything in return. Do this now, and you will thank yourself later on.
8. Try different things
Try to discover yourself as much as possible in these years, so you don’t have to spend your 20s wandering around, feeling lost. Figure out what you like and what you don’t like: try out for sports, play various instruments, learn different languages, go out with different people, draw or write, swim or ride, be as creative and daring as possible.
This is the foundation that you are building upon for the future you, the you who will love the sea and hate the snow, the you who will love jazz and dislike pop, the you will dream of becoming a great artist and work countless hours to get that art out into the world, the you that will hate algebra and want to stay away from it as much as possible.
9. Don’t succumb to social pressure
This is also the time to make some pretty big life decisions. Don’t let your parents choose for you. Don’t let your teachers choose for you. Don’t let your friends choose for you. Follow your gut instinct but put some reason behind your choice. Don’t let your entourage decide who you should be, either. Be strong enough to make up your own mind and make your own decisions regarding your own life. It takes courage to be who you are.
10. Live YOUR life
Whatever it is that you will end up doing, you will want to look back in life and see that you lived those teenage years to the fullest. So don’t miss out on things that could potentially make some of the best memories of your life. Live the life you imagined, don’t be afraid to take chances and fight for what you believe in.
Don’t be afraid to live YOUR live.