This year I’m turning 27, which means that I’ve been reflecting a lot about how I was ten years ago. It’s crazy to see how much you can change in that amount of time. I can’t believe what I found to be important and how emotional I would get over simple things. Then again, I was 16, in high school and trying to navigate through what was happening around me. I’ve watched my behavior change over time (thank God) and observed my younger sisters go through the same things. I wish I could go back in time and talk to my 16 year-old self and share what I consider my wisdom. But, since time travel hasn’t been invented (yet), I thought I would write it all down.
Slow down, you crazy child
Growing up isn’t as glamorous and amazing as you think. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy I’m not in high school anymore. But growing up brings its own challenges. So stop rushing and wanting to grow up so fast. One day you’ll see that it went by too quickly.
Enjoy yourself and stop worrying
I’ve recently wrote about my life with anxiety, which leads me to this point. I always found myself worrying about being perfect that I believe I missed out on some fun moments. Stop worrying so much about things you can’t control. Everything will end up working out fine in the end. If you can’t control it, then it’s out of your power. You can only control your own actions.
Not everything has to have a purpose
I think all of the worrying led me to believe that everything I did had to have some purpose for my future. Like I said before, I believe that my constant worrying made me miss out on some moments that could have been fun. Not everything you do has to have some affect on your future. Go to that concert, head to that game and have fun at that party.
Spend money on things you need, not what you want
Frivolous spending is something that I’m unfortunately used to. It’s taken some time to know that I don’t need to get a new jacket every season, or a new pair of boots every Autumn. There are things that you need to spend money on rather than spending your money on things you want in that moment.
Just be yourself, don’t act like someone you’re not
One issue I definitely had at this point in my life was trying to fit in and not be myself. I thought that who I was wasn’t going to have a lot of friends or be popular among my classmates. Turns out, none of that really matters. Being yourself is way more important than trying to fit in with everyone. You’ll find out who your friends are when you’re finally true to yourself.
There’s more to life than how popular you are
This point goes with the former. I cared WAY too much about what people thought about me, and it wasn’t until someone called me out on it that I realized I needed to not care so much about how many “friends” I had. It’s better to find true friends who like you for you than to try to be acquaintances with everyone. I found that I felt more lonely when I thought I had a ton of friends than when I found my core group.
It’s okay to not know everything; ask for help
I used to be petrified to ask for help. It’s amazing to listen to my parents and hear them say I how I I was convinced I knew everything and thought I could fix everything myself. It’s okay to not know everything. You’ll be learning your entire life. Asking for help will only help you learn and grow as a person for years to come.
Your parents are not the enemy
The second I felt like my parents were actually trying to ‘parent’ me, I would freak out. I mean, that’s pretty typical of a teenager. But now looking back, it’s clear that they only wanted the best for me. I wish I could go back and not argue with them as much, or listened to them the first time around. Fortunately, I have a great relationship with all of my parental adults now, which makes life a bit easier when I need some advice.
Risk it to get the biscuit
This is probably one of my favorite saying because it sounds hilarious and it’s pretty true. I wish I risked it a bit more at 16 because who knows what opportunities could have come my way. I was too scared to raise my hand to volunteer for something, or too afraid to get up and share my talents in front of the school. I’m happy to say I did take some risks, but it’s good to try and go out for something that you think you could be perfect for. You never know what the outcome will be until you try.
Pick yourself up, don’t put yourself down
As a teenager, and even as an adult, I’ve found myself thing more negatively about my outer appearance than I should. Unfortunately, that’s a typical thing in our modern society. I would love to tell younger self to embrace everything I have to offer and love me for who I am. Stop putting yourself down because you don’t look like everyone else. You are you and that’s amazing.
Take a minute to appreciate the good
A lot of good things happen when you’re 16, and it sucks to think that I didn’t take the time to appreciate all of the good things in my life. That’s why I really try to take time now to appreciate everything. Life offers a lot of good with a lot of bad, but it’s important to try to remember the good. It’s better to view life as more of a ‘glass half full’ kind of view.
Know your worth
You are important, whether you want to believe it or not. Knowing your worth is so important, especially at that point in your life when you’re finding out who you are. I find now that when I get down about myself I use a mantra to help me remember my worth.
Don’t dwell on failure
At 16, failing at anything was like the world was ending. Turns out that failing is when I learned the most. I would love to tell my younger self to embrace failure with open arms because that’s when I was able to learn and gain new knowledge.
Don’t try to please everyone
As a self-proclaimed people pleaser, I believe that I missed out on pleasing myself in situations back then. I felt that I needed to make everyone else around my happy before my own happiness. That’s terrible girl! You don’t have to please everyone, especially if you’re not going to be happy about it in the end.
Not everything bad thing is the end of the world
I know, I know. It’s hard to believe at 16 that the world isn’t going to end because you didn’t get a date to a dance, or that you didn’t make the varsity team. But life really does go on. You’re going to go through a lot more stuff that will make you realize that those little moments aren’t as important as you think.
You’re going to make it, and you’re going to be amazing
16 is going to feel stressful, annoying and truly sucky at times. But I have some news for you: you’re going to be just fine. You’re going to go on with your life, go to college and find a new group of friends that are going to embrace you for who you are. You’re going to travel, enjoy life and learn a lot more than you could possibly imagine. The future really is bright, even in the darkest moments.