It’s scary to think that in just two weeks I’ll no longer be a teenager. The past couple years of my life I’ve learned more about myself and some important lessons that have helped me grow as a person. As I roll up to my twentieth birthday I’ve been finding myself reflecting more and more on what I’ve learned during these crucial teenaged years. So, in light of any younger readers or anyone else that may be wondering, I’ve scraped together ten lessons that I learned in my teen years.
1. You can’t make everyone happy
Okay, this lesson is pretty self explanatory and one of the first things you learn when you grow up. You just have to remember that your happiness is the most important of all. Despite trying your best, it’s almost impossible to make everyone around you happy. Its inevitable. Someone won’t like the choice you made, someone won’t like how you’re choosing to lead your life, but it doesn’t matter. Do as you please!
2. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes
To go along with the first lesson, its definitely okay to be selfish a portion of the time. In order to make yourself happy, you may have to look out for yourself more than others. Sure they might be mad at you for the time being, but eventually they’ll get over it. You know whats best for you, so make decisions with that in mind! Put yourself first.
3. Don’t let your friends dictate your opinion of someone or something
I’ve seen this happen to way too many of my peers. Someone says something about another person, or an activity and said person changes their opinion of it all together. Changing your views and opinions of something just to fit in with social norms is brutal. Your friends should be supportive of your interests rather than constantly dictating what you do. Be unique! Love who you want to love, and do what you want.
4. A small circle is sometimes better than a big one
This may not apply to everyone, but it definitely applied to myself. I used to have a wide circle and a wide variety of friends, and as I grew up my circle got a little bit smaller every year. Truthfully, I was happier this way. There was a lot less drama between the group and I ended up having closer relationships with them rather than relationships that didn’t have much meaning at all.
5. Learn how to think for yourself.
Mom and Dad can’t fold your laundry forever guys. They also can’t pay for your phone bill, cook your meals and get that summer job for you. This is the time that you learn to stand on your own two feet! Block out other opinions and make a decision based on what is best for you!
6. Be an affective communicator
The best way to get your thoughts across to someone is to be good at verbal speaking. If you can’t put your thoughts into words then no one is ever going understand what you truly want from something. The best way to become an affective communicator is to become a good listener. Make sure to be clear and assertive so people can fully understand your wants and needs! Otherwise you’re probably rambling and your point will be nowhere in sight by the end of the conversation.
7. Money really doesn’t grow on trees
This was definitely learned during my first two years at university. Realizing that you actually have to budget your money rather than continuously splurge it took me a couple months to figure out – especially when I stopped having any income. Being able to sit down and write out a monthly budget on how much you SHOULD be spending and what you should be spending it on is a skill that i’ll carry on throughout life. Its definitely an important part of adulthood, and learning how to manage your money is a crucial step to adulting.
8. Plan ahead
This pertains to almost everything. There was nothing worse than waking up in the morning and realizing that I had 12 hours to complete an essay, but also had 6 hours of classes to attend and homework to complete for that day as well. My suggestion to you is, plan ahead. Keep an agenda of some sort with all the things you have due that semester. Stay ahead of your classes! This also applies to your every day life though… being prepared is better than not having any clue of what’s going on. Make sure the path you’re leading keeps as many doors open for you as possible! Apply for your summer job in December, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being prepared for life.
9. Life doesn’t suck as much as you think it does
You’re a teenager. Your hormones are going crazy at this time in your life. Not to say that each individual doesn’t have other things going on, but the glass truly is half full guys. There are so many other things to appreciate around you. Things as simple as the sun coming out for five minutes after five days of overcast. Once a day take time to reflect of what was good about it rather than bad. You’ll notice that it makes life so much happier.
10. Live for the present
This is one of the best lessons I learned. While trying to conquer my anxiety, my doctor recommended I got a book on mindfulness. Long story short, being mindful is worrying about the moment you’re in right now, or in other words, living for the present. Rather than dwelling on the past and changing things you can’t control, or worrying about what the future might hold for you, focus on where you are right now. Appreciate what you can control and make the most of what you have on this day.
Although there are many many more lessons that you learn as a teenager, these are some of the few that I will take with me through my life. These ten were the ones that applied to me most. It’s slightly sad that I will be moving on from my teenaged years, but I’m nothing but excited to live it up in my twenties.