When I turned 20 last year, someone commented on twitter saying that I could now use the phrase “during my time..” in conversations. Being officially on the ‘other side’ for more than a year, I don’t quite remember my teenage years as well as I thought I would. Surprisingly, for me, the times filled with sadness and depression are more clear in my mind than the happy times.
I cannot label my teenage self. I guess I was a little bit of everything. I was very average, normal and somehow just ‘fit-in’. If I had a chance to go back in time and fix things – like broken friendships – I probably would. But sadly, I can’t. I’ve gotten past the stage to even feel miserable about these things now. One major advice I would have given my teenage self was to be confident of who I was. As a young girl, I wasn’t very outstanding and confident. I admired other girls who were “out there” – grabbing opportunities and achieving things. I was always the second option at most of these things. A replacement for another artist at representing my school at a painting competition. I was a good artist – but not the best. I never got selected for any major event – I desperately wanted to be a part of the MUN and debate team. Sadly the teachers thought I wasn’t worthy of this. School was sometimes very demeaning for me. Anyway, all this changed in college and I can’t be more happy about it. The thing is, in college, we get to take decisions for ourselves, teachers don’t.
10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Teenage Self –
1. Be confident about who you are. You are no less or greater than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to present yourself to others. Be proud of your accomplishments, however small or insignificant they seem to be. They are going to boost your confidence for bigger things in life later on. There is absolutely no use in comparing yourself to your peers.
2. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. Accept love as any other human feeling and be okay with it. Love isn’t a magical fantasied experience as how Disney shows it to be. It is beautiful and great, yes, but don’t exaggerate the boundaries of the feeling.
3. Talk to your parents more often. Get to know them. Be open and honest with them. The bond that you form now will determine the one that you have in the future. Make it easier at this age, so that it doesn’t have to be awkward and odd later in life.
4. Build your stamina, exercise regularly, take care of your body. Make it a practice. We tend to realize the importance of being healthy only later in life. It’s not really about having a good physique. It’s about being healthy and active. Learn what’s good for your body and how you react to different situations.
5. Hang on to close friends. True friendship is hard to find and it takes efforts from both sides. Have friends who like you for who you are. That being said, know that it is okay to drift apart… What matters is that you both acknowledge your friendship even after many years. They are truly your friends.
6. You can be anyone you want to be. It may seem like you have very limited options in front of you for your future. But really, there are going to be many many more options ahead of you. Choose wisely.
7. Talk to more people, all kinds of people. Make connections. Build bonds. Every person has something to offer that you can learn from. This is going to open your mind to many new possibilities. Know their stories, it will help you in creating your own. You will learn more from other people than from books and lectures. Have your own opinions in conversations. Have plenty conversations.
8. Do the things that you love more often. Interests may change frequently, but stick to one thing and excel at it. It may take you a lifetime, and that’s okay.
9. Be Proactive. I cannot stress upon this more. Take decisions – even if they fail – and make things happen by yourself. Learning to be independent and responsible is the greatest gift you can give yourself.
10. Don’t worry, just be happy! Things may seem confusing and bitter now. It won’t get any better later (sometimes it may), so learn to cherish what you have and just enjoy the days! :)