PJ
May 23, 2015 9:05 am

As teenagers, we’re told a lot of mumbo jumbo advice that’s supposed to “help” us during these troubled years. In fact, there’s so much advice out there about being a teen, it’s a wonder anyone has any questions left at all about it. But somehow, it seems, there are still always things that fall through the cracks — at least that’s been my experience. In spite of all the teenage advice out there in the universe, there were still moments when I’ve felt totally lost navigating my teen years. Specficially, there are five things that I know would’ve been helpful to know, and probably would have made this awkward time easier. Therefore, speaking as someone with little credentials other than just being a fellow teenager, I’m about to dish out some serious truth. Hopefully my addition to the world of teen advice will help make things a little smoother for someone else.

Your pants shrunk, and other changes you barely noticed were happening.

It seems like every day is harder than the last, and not to mention everything seems older and weirder than before. Well, buddy, do I have a secret for you — there aren’t fairies sneaking into your room at night and shrinking your clothes, and messing with you hormone levels (at least, the science doesn’t back it up): That’s called growing up!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll notice things are changing faster than you’d like, and it’s not just the size jeans you need to buy at the mall. Just yesterday, you and your friends were promising to be there for each other forever and ever, and today the friend group drama is worse than a real-life Game of Thrones. People betray each other, lie, cheat, and cry. This world is a lot more complicated than you realized, and now you’re starting to see that you might be slightly unprepared for this whole transitioning-to-adulthood thing. But you’re not. You’re just as capable as everyone else around you. Your choices won’t always be right, but you have to stand by them, because if you don’t defend that horrible haircut 10 years from now, who will?

Taking mental breaks isn’t just okay, it’s necessary.

As you grow up, there are so many more added pressures, things you would never have dreamed of before. But the best (note the sarcasm here) part is that the world is constantly telling you to “calm down.” We live in a society where mental health is not approached properly. You’re expected to keep your “cool” at all times, and yet you should also be a straight A student, an athletic god, and love arts and crafts with such a fiery passion, it’s caused you to start some charity that helps people in a third world country that you can’t even pronounce properly. Not to mention family issues, romantic ones, and maybe, if you get around to it, personal goals.

Well here’s the deal: You can stop at any time and take a mental break. Regardless of what you’re doing, always check in with yourself. Being a teenager is not easy, so be the friend you are to others, but to yourself. Thinking of things in the big picture has helped me. When you’re looking at the story of your life as a whole, you realize it won’t matter whether your model of the digestive system is perfect, but it does matter if you just sit and eat a meal with your family and avoid a full-on breakdown. Stop and breathe, because however long you think you can push yourself, the crash is not worth it. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Some people are just going to hate you — and that’s actually, kind of a good thing.

I’ll never forget the day I found out somebody didn’t like me for no reason. I mean, I had hardly talked to the kid, and I always tried to be nice to everyone, so I obsessed for days trying to figure out what I had done. But as time went on, I realized it’s not my problem what other people think.

Here’s the thing: People always say, “just ignore the negativity,” but you can’t! I like people, I like talking, and making friends, so, if someone’s going to hate me, it better be on my terms. Don’t passively take someone’s rejection. Nobody warned me there would be people who would take offense to a part of my core personality, but in the end, I’m glad they did. It sucks that people won’t always love you, but if everyone did, there would be a problem. If people don’t like you, at least you know that something you stand for was clear as day, and that’s awesome.

“You know what’s the worst? Everything.

How often have you thought this or heard a friend say it or something similar? Probably a lot, but I’m going to stop you right there. Life is beautiful — it’s hard to always see that when horrible things seem to keep happening, like your school switching the chocolate chip cookies to oatmeal raisin, or you know, the persecution of millions of people every day due to them not fitting into the rigid positions constructed by a flawed society, but you get it.

This is a PSA telling everyone that it’s not fun to be the person who hates on everything. Don’t burst people’s balloons, both literally and metaphorically. Go pet a cat, eat a cake, garden, I don’t care, but find something you love, that makes you happy, and understand that happiness is not lame. Caring about things, is great, and apathy gets old really quick.

I really, really, really, really, like you.

Love does not have to be serious. I think that’s incredibly important to specify. When I was younger, love terrified me, and I’ve still got some unresolved issues, but the point is that love, in all its hefty weight and zeal, is not as scary as it seems. I’m an incredibly immature person, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have valid thoughts and opinions.

Love is broad; you can love your friends, family, romantic partners, TV shows and other forms of media, and it will all take time. Take love, and make it accessible to you. I love being able to wake up every day and know that the weekend will come, eventually. I also love my family, and friends, the people that support me and love me back. I also know that romantic love may or may not come now, but it will happen. I don’t need to actively seek it out, because it’ll come when it’s ready. So for now, I’ll stick to dumb jokes and finding the good in the little things (like puppies!).

(Image via here.)

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