This is me as a teenager; young, naive and no concept of the ‘real world’. I’ve spent the past hour looking through photos on Facebook, why you may ask? I have no idea, I was just looking through holiday photos and the next thing I knew I was scrolling through photos of when I was in school. It got me thinking, what would I change if I could go back and what advice would I have given myself. So I’ve come up with a list of things I’d tell my teenage self.
1. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big. In school I always felt that those who shared their ambitious dreams and plans were shot down. I remember some teachers telling students that they needed to find something more realistic that they wanted to do with their lives, I’m all for having a back up plan but basically telling someone that they can’t achieve their dreams is wrong. If there is something you want to do in life then strive towards it and work hard, who are they to say you can’t do it? No dream is too big.
2. It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life. There is no rush, people make it sound like a marathon but it’s okay to take your time figuring out what you want to do with your life. You can change your mind as many times as you want, at the end of the day you want to do something that makes you happy, it’s completely normal for this to keep changing. Also when I was in school I didn’t realise just how many different careers that you can go into, if you feel like there is nothing you really want to do I can assure you that eventually you will discover something you love.
3. Puberty sucks but everyone is in the same boat and it will pass. Oh my gosh, puberty was not a good time for me. Suddenly my face was full of red angry spots, my eyebrows had doubled in size and I had turned from a cute little kid into an ugly duckling. I would have loved to tell myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and this is just a period of my life that will pass even though it may seen never-ending.
4. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. I used to think that everyone who was nice to me liked me and was a nice person, oh I was wrong! I found it hard to believe that there were mean people in the world and this way of thinking was not actually a good thing, it made me too trusting and naive. However, this is a lesson that I am glad I learnt from experience as it has made me the person I am today (without sounding too cliche).
5. Don’t hide who you are, it’s okay to be you and a little weird. Over the years I’ve realised that being weird isn’t actually out of the ordinary, the majority of people are weird in their own little way. It’s those little things that make you who you are and isn’t something you should hide, other people will even love you for it.
6. Your parents have your best interests at heart. Sometimes I thought it was unfair when I was younger why I couldn’t do certain things or go specific spaces, but now reflecting back I can understand why. I’ve realised that my parents were not just protecting me, but were also teaching me valuable lessons which I would need later on in life.
7. Life isn’t a fairytale and that’s okay.
When I was younger I was super naive, I guess I still am a little but no where near as much as when I was in school. I know it sounds silly but I thought that everything was perfect, but now I’m 23 I have realised this is not the case at all! Even though I like that I had that naivety for such a long time, when I realised that people and the world weren’t perfect as I thought I would have liked to tell myself that it’s okay.
8. Don’t be as shy.
I used to be super shy, I was fine around my close friends but around anyone who I didn’t really know I wanted to curl up in a ball. There are missed opportunities and things I wanted to try but never did for this reason, for example I’ve always wanted to do drama but this stopped me from doing that. It wasn’t until I finished school that I started to become more confident and not as shy, I wish this would have happened sooner but I’m glad it happened at this point rather than later.
I feel that I’ve learnt so much in the past few years and will continue to learn more, even though I would have loved to go back in time to tell myself these things I’m glad I have learnt them through experience as it’s shaped who I am and most of them I wouldn’t have believed anyway. I have a super long list of things I would have told myself specifically at 18 but I’ll save that for another time. Is there anything you would have told your teenage self?