Once a teenager

WHEN I LOOK back on my teenage years, the benefit of age has given me the ability to see some irony.

I hope today’s teenagers can see it earlier than I did.

Tonight, when I thought about what is an important time for almost everybody, I thought about how much I looked for the approval of the people who were around me then.

My outlook on life was different as a teenager than it is now, of course, but it’s ironic so much of my outlook then was influenced by people I barely know today.

We spend so much of youth in search of who we are — we try to carve out our place in the social hierarchy so we can be liked by this group or grab this person’s attention — we don’t realize things will change so much in a few short years.

I know I didn’t realize it.

When you are young so many things seem life-altering, and I think it’s natural since adolescence is such a pivotal time in life, but once you make it through all of the trials of teenage years it becomes apparent most of those things are just chapters in your story.

Teenagers face so many pressures.

There’s a lot of awkwardness in those years, a lot of growing into who you are and toward who you’ll become.

You will have good days. You will have bad days. You will have days good and bad in equal parts.

You will soar to cloud nine when your crush talks to you, but sink to the depths when you realize a prominent pimple had appeared somewhere on your face since the last time you looked and there’s no way they didn’t notice.

Some comedy of errors might happen to you in front of people you’d like to impress, and you might feel mortified in those moments, but allow me try to assure you of a few things.

Pimples pop, and mortifying moments don’t last forever.

Even if you have what seems like the worst day ever, and you think something has happened from which won’t be able to recover, you will make it through.

Sooner or later you’ll realize the popular people everybody seems to put on a pedestal are in fact normal, and they’re just trying to make it through the day, too.

You’re in a weird time, but you’re also in a great time you’ll remember forever.

Since I was once a teenager — I guess I’m proof you can make it through those years — I’d like to give you a little advice I hope will help make your todays and tomorrows just a little easier.

Most people you spend today trying to impress will fade into memory in a few more tomorrows.

Don’t change who you are, or use all your time as a teenager to impress them.

Be kind to everyone.

Be a person who makes a positive difference in people’s todays and tomorrows.

Be yourself.


This post is a response to Sue’s prompt, which is, “approval.”

2 Comments

  1. Casey: A great post! Thanks for reminding me of those years I can barely recollect at 85. Keep on writing.

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