5 Tidbits of Wisdom for Every Teenager

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Everyone repeat after me ….

“all I really need to know I learned in …”

Okay, no. One of my least favorite quotes. I did not learn everything at one point in time – I did not learn the “most important” “wisest” things at any particular place in my lifetime  – and it especially wasn’t in Kindergarten. I say that now at age 34.

I learn as I go, we’ve established that. I am not going to continue to teach the brave readers of my blog about what it takes to learn a new life lesson and how to incorporate it into your lives (okay, I’m completely bluffing here, there will be many posts in the future, I suppose, as I continue to investigate myself and the ideas flow – that’s why I love writing – there’s no limitation on subject).

I would like to, however, take this moment to flash back in time – my daily prompt wants a current event. I get my news from The Huffington Post. Fortunately yesterday – even one of my tweets was featured in their article on Divorce (go me, I got into an article on The Huffington Post: WINNING! See #12 – that is my tweet!)

It asked me to take the third article down and make a blog about it entitled “Current Event”.

For all intense and purposes, I would rather not speak about the Pope and Abortion.

I bring in honesty here – we all know I pride myself on this quality – but I am not going to talk about this particular current event, nor do I really feel like writing about current events today. I admit total writer’s block there (smack, how could you?)

Instead – I’m twisting this idea – instead of the currency of thought provocation – I would like to jump into the time machine of memory and go back to my teenage self. I have been thinking of this on a constant basis because I know how much I learned back then that I continue to instill in myself. I have a message for teenagers today and it is simple.

Tidbits of Wisdom (take it or leave it, but I am intelligent and wise, and I promise you – these are heartfelt, genuine, and educational):

a) Don’t cheat. It’s not worth it. You will not learn anything from it – and odds are, if you do cheat, you will continue to cheat on something in your adult years as you continue to learn what a huge responsibility adulthood is. Exhibit A: I’m cheating on this post. It’s supposed to be about a current event. Clearly it’s not – unless I say I’m talking to current teenagers today (that counts right? See I made the effort)!

b) Sleep more: stop worrying about how you look less. I used to get up at 4 AM to shower, do my hair, get my make up on right – maybe I could have impressed my crush that day if my foundation wasn’t so cracked or my mascara was not running or the eye liner was a STRAIGHT line. (Lay off the morning caffeine, it causes the shakes).  I found that the harder I tried to look great, the worse I felt during the day when all that effort after the timed mile run, or sitting in the hot lunch room, made it all worthless anyway.

c) You are beautiful: repeat this to yourself daily. I used to wake up scared out of my wits to go to school because I was so worried about how I looked (see part B above) – I would walk in and creep to my locker, pack in my books, and find myself hiding behind the hood of my jacket or the back of my Algebra book – I kept comparing myself. School is about learning, educating, becoming: it is not a beauty pageant and if others make you feel like it is: scoff it off. I never learned to do this and still suffer with my outer image after I allowed my young, budding mind, to truly believe that my looks mattered more than everything else. I know that part C is extremely difficult. We live in a world of mass media, supermodels, air brushed magazine covers. Trust me, I understand. I used to hide them under my bed and look at those supermodels and do my best attempts to come out looking like one of them –  Instead of having other goals like, oh say getting up my grade point average. I was too busy concentrating on trying to turn heads like the Cindy Crawford, or say the people I had contact with everyday: cheerleaders, the prom queen (I was neither): mistakes, my friends, mistakes.

d) Stop wishing you were an adult: please, please stop wishing you were older. I could write an entire manifesto on this. Enjoy your life. Enjoy the things around you that make being a teenager fun – go out with your friends (to the bowling alley or something, I am not referring to making fake ID’s and going to the local bar – consider this option DISCOURAGED) – nowadays, with shows like 16 and Pregnant or My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I –and  True Life  I know things happen that propel you straight to adulthood from that age of innocence. I am in no way putting any blinders on or attempting to insult any in that situation. Everyone is different – there’s such a diversity of personalities this day and age and with social media and your ability to see pretty much ANYTHING – I get it, adulthood is fascinating. Just please stay young at heart, live it to the fullest – because I am one adult who can tell you that being an adult – it makes you want to go back to those days of being younger. As difficult as my teenage years were, it’s because of those hard times that I wish I could go back an speak all of these things to myself and do it over – so I could have enjoyed it a bit more.

e) As quoted above by the wonderful Robert Frost Life Goes On: Keep this in the back of your mind daily. If you are like I was and sat in the back of the lunch room, feared being bullied again by the “really hot guy who thought he was all that and a Big Mac”, cried many a nights over being rejected, insulted, unaccepted, or that I got a C on a test when I SWEAR on the Bible I studied my patoot off for – Life really does go on. You will learn from it – you will take those lessons with you into the adulthood you’re wishing for and you will look back on it and wonder why you spent so much of your delicate, youthful time really caring all that much about it.

I learned from being bullied. I took many life lessons from being a teenager – dealing with things like acne, bad grades, fear of not being accepted into college, wanting to be asked to prom, needing a date to Homecoming, looking up to the people who were nominated for Prom Queen and Class President.  The only way I was able to get myself to truly understand life’s messages was to accept that I needed to move forward. The really hot guy who bullied me is a nothing now – and I hardly even remember his name. The C I got a test on, ultimately still got me into Virginia Tech.

The biggest tidbit I failed on was part C. Still now, I have yet to truly find my strength to really believe I’m beautiful. I started this blog a week and a day ago. I go back and read my own posts and go – wow – maybe I am. I learn from my own lessons that I preach to others – and I encourage you to do the same because (insert LIGHT BULB DING) beauty is also an inside quality. Become a leader, know yourself, let others judge you if they please. In the end, take those judgements as a compliment that someone was even thinking about you at all (see my mention of the term scoff it off). It is not easy. I know this and that’s why I wrote this. I just wanted, for this particular writing piece, to come back to you, as if I were you, and speak to you directly: I wish somebody had spoken to me before.

No wait – they did. I distinctly remember this conversation with my parents, aunts, friends of the family, neighbors, bus drivers, teachers…

The problem was: I never listened because I had that lovely teenage flair about me that I was never wrong. I couldn’t be wrong. I knew what I was doing at my ripe ol’ age of 15, right?

Take it all in, put it into your memory box, use your knowledge and your wisdom you know now and apply it to yourself in this moment.  Your adulthood will thank you as you are sitting at your table, reading a newspaper, drinking a coffee, watching the morning news and packing up to leave for your job or drop your kids off to the babysitter, whatever it is your adult self will become. You will remember that you enjoyed being a teenager just a tad bit more than others did (I didn’t – that’s why I’m writing this to you) – and you will smile and cherish the memories as you walk off to your car and scoff off the coffee you just spilt on the sidewalk…. because as you will know then, and you should know now …

Life goes on.

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