While I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and there is little to no point to regret, that does not negate the importance of self-reflection, which I think is essential for our growth as individuals and for our psychological well-being. And if, in the process of considering our past actions, we can help others going through the same challenges, all the better.
The teenage years are certainly tricky to navigate. From the rampant peer pressure to the physical, mental, and sexual confusion of puberty, it can be quite the emotional minefield. Not to mention that thanks to technology teens now also have virtually the entire world to praise, hate, and compare themselves to at any given second.
Having long survived the teenage years, I've decided to put together a list of 7 things (in both video and written form) that I wish someone had told me in my teens, in hopes of saving some unnecessary confusion, heartbreak, and frustration for today's youth.
1. Embrace Your Natural Beauty
Given how the world of pop culture and media tends to be focused, this certainly applies more so to females than males, but it is still worth noting for both. The truth is, what is beautiful today will be ugly tomorrow (if don't believe me, check out THIS VIDEO), so choose to love who you are without any of it rather than get caught up in trend after trend. The less make-up, treatments, and in my case hair product you put onto yourself as a teen, the less likely you are to "need it" as an adult. (Proof of this)
2. You Will Never Have More Free Time Than You Do Right Now
I know that school and a part-time job may be time consuming at points, but they pale in comparison to the requirements for survival as an adult. If you have a hobby or subject you are passionate about, explore it! The more time you make for it now (when you have time) the more likely it is to become a regular part of your life moving forward, or even a future career you actually enjoy.
3. Life Doesn't Suck As Much As You Think It Does
While I'm sure there are some teens with pretty legitimate challenges in their life, the majority sure do tend to make a big deal out of things that, in the grand scheme of things, are pretty insignificant. For proof of this, we need to look no further than the 'Trending Now' section of any social media feed. Believe it or not, not having a pair of tickets to the next One Direction concert, having to wait a couple more years before being the legal drinking age, or not having a boyfriend/ girlfriend do not qualify as legitimate justification for a sucky life.
4. Be A Leader
There are always great opportunities to take command in this world, but there are few environments that throw these opportunities at you as blatantly as high school and post-secondary school do. Whether it be a sports team, council, event, or fundraiser, take a leadership role in it and start to develop that type of mentality within you. Need some inspiration? Check out any of these young change-makers!
5. The Outside World Is Better Than The Online One
The internet may be pretty damn awesome, but most of what we watch online is of things happening in real life somewhere. So rather than spending all your time watching other people's lives, go out and actually live yours!
6. Just Because It Seems Like Your Body Can Handle Anything, Doesn't Mean It Can
Pretty well every day throughout my four years of high school I consumed a can of Vanilla Coke and some white chocolate macadamia cookies with my lunch. At the time, it didn't seem like a problem because my body seemed invincible to gaining weight or feeling sick, but now, well into my twenties, I can clearly see how nonsensical that daily decision really was. Educate yourself about healthy choices now so you can build the healthy habits that will serve you for the rest of your life.
7. School Isn't The End Of The World
It may seem like that upcoming calculus exam is going to make or break your success in life, but the truth is, you'll be fine either way. We live in a world where the piece of paper that school provides you is becoming less and less powerful, all while becoming more and more expensive. I'm not saying that you stop trying altogether, but I am suggesting that you ease off on any pressure you may be putting on yourself. Enjoy the school experience and focus on making connections rather than the Dean's list; in most cases, those will prove a much more valuable resource.