When I was a teenager, I always expected that by 27, heck, even by 23 or 24, I’d have a husband and two kids already. Let’s just say, I couldn’t be further from that. Of course, it’s important to have goals and expectations for ourselves, but the problem with these expectations is they often leave us feeling disappointed if our lives don’t turn out the way we expected them to. I’ve had a few moments where I feel sorry for myself and what I don’t have by this age. When time passes it has a way of making big accomplishments in the past seem rather small. As a teenager, I always expected I’d go to university because that just seemed like what you do. When I graduated from university after six years of it, it seemed pretty special to me at the time. However, when I turned 27 I was thinking about how I didn’t have the little family I thought I would by now, but I wasn’t thinking about the things I do have, like that university degree.
Anyway, there are all sorts of things I’d tell my teenage self (like how lame it is to make super emotional song lyrics your Facebook status) but right now what I’d tell me is: Goals are great, and timelines can be great, too.
But if you have a goal (like meeting your “soulmate”) that isn’t really a matter of effort, but of fate, timelines can get messy and disappointing.
So, go easy on yourself with the timelines and your expectations of meeting them. Focus on what you DO have, what you CAN do and let the knowledge that you’re doing whatever you can to achieve the dreams you DO have control over be enough for you.
Sounds suuuuper easy, right?
On that light note, let’s see what a bunch of other women wish they could tell their teenage selves:
What an uplifting sentiment.
A hair straightener does more good than bad… Talking to people is usually beneficial as well.
Enjoy being young and not having any responsibilities. Travel by yourself – you’ll learn so much about yourself. Tell your parents you love them and appreciate them. Put effort into the friendships that you care about, staying in touch can get hard as you grow up and go down different paths but true friendships will last with a bit of effort. Go to post-secondary school, even if you don’t want to… you’ll be happy you did later on!
If a girl is catty and a shitty friend, she will always be catty and a shitty friend. Move on and don’t waste your time with her again. Don’t stress about where you’re going to go to college, what you’re going to take, where you are going to work after. It all falls in to place without forcing it.
Don’t suppress who you are or who you want to be by letting negative influences/behaviours affect you. Find yourself in a more positive way. Or, that in the grand scheme of things, your focus should be on quality not quantity when it comes to friendships. In retrospect, the best memories you will hold dear to you will include the people you truly love and care about.
Be more humble.
Just cause you saw Regina George wearing army pants and flip flops, doesn’t mean you need to wear army pants and flip flops. <—An important lesson for all of us.
Break some rules. Not important ones, just like do something crazy once in a while. Also, chips are gross, don’t taste them.* *chips are not gross, but maybe if Ithought they were I wouldn’t eat them all the time.
Everything will be okay…and growing up is not so great.
Don’t worry so much about what other people think of you. Be yourself and walk to the beat of your own drum.
Make more time for those important to you.
You will do stupid things. You will get in trouble. You will fail. People will talk about you, but in the end you will be okay.
It will pass.
The acne will go away, but the love handles will not. Oh, and that hating your mother is pointless because whether you like it or not, she will be your best friend one day.
Your parents DO actually know what they’re talking about (most of the time). Your first break up is not the end of the world. Life goes on, and in five years you’ll look back and laugh. Your marks in grade 12 matter the most for post-secondary. Also, #YOLO!
Ah, little bird. May you only ever give your time and energy to the people who you truly care about. And never make excuses for anyone else’s bad behaviour, especially any teenage boys who are awful. In case this advice lacks concrete structure, I’d also provide myself with the security clearance system for humans I have recently developed.
Now it’s your turn… What would you tell your teenage self if you had the chance? And if you’d like to participate in the next round of XO&So questions, leave your email down below, or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a copy of the questions.