I’m nearly one year into my twenties, and through the past year I’ve reflected a lot on what my life has been so far- my high school experience, good and bad decisions, mistakes I’ve made, and what I’ve learned along the way. Today I’m putting that reflection into words. So without further ado, here’s 10 Things I Learned In My Teen Years. 🙂
1. Pick Friends Who Support You On Every Level
A supportive friend is someone you can depend on to be there when you’re struggling, who listens and cares about you and your struggles. Someone who’s honest, open, and trustworthy. If your friends are making you feel emotionally drained, hurt, degraded, or unsupported in your visions and values, they’re not true friends There’s always people at your school and in your community who are willing to be a good supportive friend. You just have to look for them.
2. Build Healthy Habits
One of the most valuable pieces of information I learned as a teen is: It’s easier to create new habits when you’re young, and harder to create new habits when you’re old. Get clear on what a healthy lifestyle looks like, write out your ideal lifestyle (yours; not your friends or peers), then strive to follow it as best as possible. Making smart, healthy habits in your teen years establishes the foundation of your health and lifestyle for the rest of your life.
3. You Don’t Have To Know What You Want To Do Right Away
I’m going to be 21 in less than two months, and I still don’t know what I want to do for a career. Life isn’t a race, and there’s no point in trying to keep up with others your age. Everyone has an individual journey. People go to college, either drop out or graduate. Or they don’t go in the first place, start a family, work for their family business, or start their own business. I’ve even read stories of people graduating with a degree, and then decide to do something else not pertaining to it. (Both of my friends went off to post secondary, and both of them dropped out and decided to do something different). We all have different paths, don’t compare yours to others and don’t feel pressured to go right off to school. The ages 17 and 18 are so young – you hardly know who you are yet let alone able to pick a degree program that dictates your future career. Give yourself time.
4. Save Your Money (Start Investing)
Five to ten years from now, you’ll magically have $25,000 saved in your bank account. And that’s all thanks to packing that money away instead of spending it. The things I bought when I was 15 and 16 are things I wouldn’t buy now. If I could go back, I’d save my money so I could put it towards assets (instead of materialistic things. I don’t regret the concert tickets though lol!).
5. Nothing Is More Important Than Your Health
Processed foods, smoking, substance abuse, stress, and being sedentary all contribute to an unhealthy lifestyle. All of which can ultimately lead to illness, disease, and even death. Establishing a healthy lifestyle when we’re young keeps us feeling our optimism and prepares us for years to follow. Your body is always changing – every second cells die and new ones form. Make sure it’s changing for the better. This goes for mental health as well. With an increase in anxiety and depression in adolescence, more time needs to go into caring for our minds and making sure we aren’t pushing ourselves too hard or doing things that aren’t good for us. Take a break every once and awhile and give yourself time to get clear, centred, and grounded.
6. You Never Stop Learning
One thing thats always boggled my mind is when people graduate high school, then complain about not learning this or that in school to prepare them for life. The best way to solve this is to put your energy into learning the topics you felt you needed to learn, or the ones you want to learn. Having a growth mindset is so important. The most successful people in society haven’t stopped learning from the day they were born. Public libraries and book stores are at your disposal most days out of the week, and carry books on every topic you can think of. Plus, with the evolution of technology, there’s a number of blog articles and videos you can learn from. The real learning starts after high school.
7. Pick Your Influences Wisely
As teenagers become more independent, they’re influenced by new things. A teens social environment is their largest influence, which includes peers and social media. It’s important to know what your top influences are and whether they are healthy influences or not. This includes the kinds of friends you have and the activities you do with them, the type of information you ingest online, people you engage with on social media, and videos you watch. Make sure the attitudes and behaviours of your influences are in line with your values, if not, reconsider them.
8. Popularity Is Overrated; Be Yourself And Set Your Own Trends
Growing up, my Mom always said to my sister and I: Don’t try to be popular, just be yourself. When I was homeschooled, I no longer had popular cliques around me. I was free to be myself, dress how I wanted, act how I wanted, etc. When you’re taken out of the high school environment you realize how comparative you used to be. Now all of a sudden you only have yourself to compare to, so you’re left to just be yourself. With that said, you don’t have to be homeschooled to be yourself. It’s a mentality. Once you finish high school and college there’s really no such thing as popularity. People just want to hangout with those who are nice, and avoid those who are toxic. Define your own style and personality, then rock it for the world.
9. You Don’t Have To Engage in Alcohol and Drugs
I personally don’t drink today and have never touched a drug for a number of reasons. But I did have my few experiences with alcohol as a teen. If I can provide any advice it would be this: Just because others are drinking, does not mean you have to. You have the choice whether you say yes or no. Your friends also shouldn’t peer pressure you to consume any form of substance, because they’re not true friends otherwise. They should respect your decision. Also, don’t fall for peer pressure, you most likely won’t talk to these people five to ten years from now. Lastly, if you want to drink or take a specific drug; educate yourself on it. If you want to do these things, take responsibility for your actions, and be prepared to handle the consequences if any appear. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be doing these things.
10. Enjoy your teen years
Our teen years are hard. There’s peer pressure, the scary feeling of independence, swaying confidence and self-esteem, discovering who you are and where you fit in, mental health problems, body struggles, social struggles, juggling school hours, after school homework, studying, part-time jobs, extra curricular’s, and volunteering. It’s a heavy load, and you should give yourself a well deserved pat on the back for the work and effort you put in. It’s not all hard though. Enjoy living with your parents, the food they buy and make for you. Enjoy not having a lot of responsibility and not having infinite debts and bills to pay. Lastly, enjoy going out with friends, concerts, football games and even the things you don’t want to do. Ultimately, the small things are what make the best memories. And when you’re looking back on your life ten years from now, you’ll regret not cherishing them more at the time. Nothing is forever, make the most of it.
Comment down below what you learned in your teen years, along with any advice you can provide. Thank you for reading! 🙂
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