Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me???

I feel like I was a pretty intelligent teenager. I studied hard, had a lot of interests which gave me a pretty diversified knowledge base, and overall just loved to learn, but there were some things no textbook, and probably no other individual could have taught me.

When I was reading Katie’s post the other day (Happy birthday Diva! Hope you are having a fabulous time in Vegas) I started to think about all the stuff I wish someone could have at least told me when I was a young and impressionable adolescent.

Working in education I have access to a lot of young people, and especially when I was in CLIIP I did my best to pass on any of my “wisdom” I have acrued throughout the self-discovery component of recovery, and maybe you already know the things I am about to list, but it never hurts to have reminders.

So here goes; to start your week on the right foot, here are some of the things I wish someone would have said to me years ago:

1. There are more important things in life than good grades.

While I was proctoring the ACT tests this weekend, I could see so much of myself in some of the overachieve-ing teens anxiously waiting for the next packet to be passed out so they could give it all they got and impress parents, colleges, whoever else they were trying to please by being there at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.

I realize not everyone was like me going into a standardized test and maybe they were just there relaxed and because they planned on taking it once to put on their post-secondary education applications, but I constantly felt pressure to be the BEST so I had a tangible measurement of my value as a person.

I could physically see the big red A on top of my paper. The SATs sent me a score that improved with every attempt. These things I could hand to my parents in an effort to say “see, I am a good person! I am not a complete failure at life and you should love me at least a little!!!”

You can probably tell, grades might not be the focal aspect of what I would love to tell the young version of me…and perhaps more that I am worthy of love just because I am me, not because of what I can do.

*Please take a mental note of that CJ, and repeat it frequently*

2. Real life is nothing like The O.C.

Ok, I am dating myself because the O.C. has no evolved into shows like GossIp Girl, the NEW 90210, etc. but the point is there aren’t many of us who take private jets to exotic destinations, can buy thousands of dollars worth of handbags at Bergdorf’s and get hair extensions on a whim.

I recently read an article that many young females are in insane amounts of debt, not always due to college, but because their shopping bills are insane!

The keeping up with the Jones’ version for young women is fashion, FITNESS GEAR AND HIGH PRICED FOODS (hello Garmin watch that cost me close to $400 and the Whole Foods receipt that can easily be $100).

If a person gets caught up in comparing their lives to those on television, magazines, BLOGS, it is really hard to be happy with your own.

I know I have posted on the comparison trap before but it is really important for me to reiterate because I struggle with it too…

“Oh man they get to run this race and I can’t even jog yet…”

“Wow, that little amount fills them up until lunch, I eat twice that and am starving by ten…how much of a pig am I?!”

So really, what I am saying does not necessarily have to do with any particular media, or television program, but perhaps just being comfortable with your life, who you are as a person minus exterior appearance or material possessions is the only way to happiness.

3. Relaxing is ok.

We live in a rat-race kind of world. Pile on the extracurriculars, play a million sports, volunteer, make time for it all! What about rest and rejuvenation?

Until recently those words were not in my vocabulary, and I would have told you I didn’t have time if you would have ever suggested I take a nap, but lately me and an afternoon snooze have become good friends.

Finding time for yourself is ESSENTIAL to wellness. It is not a topic often written about in the popular fitness magazines or other sources we tend to use as guidance on how to be the most healthy individual possible, but I am learning more and more how important it is to just slow down, evaluate your own personal interests and indulge in what makes you feel happy.

It doesn’t have to be sleep, but maybe painting, playing a video game, writng, listening to music…

All those things are fabulous outlets and can totally relieve stress, but I didn’t give too many of them a chance because my schedule was too full of things I “should” have been doing.

I did many of my previous endeavours because I felt they would make other’s happy and it made me internally miserable and exhausted. Now, I am trying to catch up from years of the “go, go, go,” find out what I TRULY enjoy and pursue interests outside of using unhealthy coping mechanisms. Although it is exciting to try so many new hobbies, my goodness, I have been missing out on how glorious a little cat-nap can be.

4. Smile. It will be ok. πŸ™‚

Maybe things are pretty bad right now.

Maybe you feel so crappy, nothing seems to pull you out of the funk.

And maybe tomorrow won’t be all sunshine and rainbows either, but I have learned that TRYING to be positive can ABSOLUTELY improve the situation.

The more I sulk and wallow in my own self-pity, the longer I hurt.

It can be the simplest things like finding my beloved Fresh-A-Peel Pumpkin Hummus at a store I don’t normally visit because I got into a fender bender right outside and wasn’t ready to start driving home yet (FYI, this just happened to me yesterday), or putting on some Justin Bieber after you got yelled at for being messy and irresponsible by your mom, but finding joy in something small can at least help turn things around.

Annoying as I may be right now, telling you to “look at the bright side,” I promise you they did not lie when they said it takes more muscles to frown than smile.

Just try it. Everyone looks so much prettier with a grin than a scowl.

5. PTG!!!

I wish someone would have told me this acronym back in the day.

For those of you who are new, I truly feel everyone should start and end their day remembering what they are proud of, thankful for and what their goals are.

It doesn’t have to be some long ordeal or written down, but take a second when you wake up to remind yourself of what you like about who you are, something you are appreciative of, and one thing you would like to accomplish.

Before bed, remember those things and reflect on your progress and how you might be able to improve tomorrow.

Perfection does not exist, remember,so there is always, ALWAYS room for improvement, and tomorrow will ALWAYS be a new day πŸ™‚


13 thoughts on “Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me???

  1. I totally agree with all of these! Also I always say I wish someone would have stressed to me the importance of doing what you love (professionally) versus having a “respectable” career! I can admit I chased the dollar signs in college and was more concerned with a high salary and fancy title than true happiness. Well, I’m paying for it now in my mental health and social life. I’m determined to fix this for myself but I would advise any young person to follow their true interests and passions. Oh to be 17 with what I know now!! The good news is we still have tomorrow. Happy Monday!

    • That is SUCH a good point! W are more than likely going to be working for a while and doing something you hate just because it’s lots of money and prestige means lots of miserable days! Glad to hear you are working to find happiness! You deserve it girl!!!

  2. I definitely need to remind myself to RELAX! Even if I’ve checked off a majority of my to-do list on any given day, I have a hard time relaxing because there’s always something else I could be doing. I’ve got to learn to let go of that mentality!

  3. I love the PTG acronym! And as for the good grades…totally in the same boat! My mom once asked if I wanted to skip school one day and spend the day with her, but I couldn’t do it because I felt I would miss so much (ohhhh high school was a joke, too!!!). I really sort of regret that!

  4. I still am in the straight A boat, but definitely working on acceptance, and realizing that a B on my report card is not in any way going to make me less of a person. Wow, even typing that just sounds silly!!! I really really liked this post CJ, sounds like you are making strides in the positive direction!! Keep smiling girl πŸ™‚

  5. Agree with everything you wrote! I just wrote about the comparison trap today. It is so hard to come out of those thoughts when that’s the way your used to thinking. Its tough to accept yourself for you, but you are aware of this and that’s a great first step!! I need to work myself of relaxing and letting go of the need to find the “perfect life”, no such thing!

  6. I love the PTG acronym (I love acronyms in general) and this one is great! The relaxing thing is a major one for me as well. It can relate to both physical and mental apsects of my life as well-Physical the obvious being that I need to rest more from working out and such. And then mental, I must get better at letting things go, going more with the flow, being able to adjust… RELAX my mind πŸ™‚

  7. There are days I would like my life to be like the OC and The Hills, but I don’t want to go into debt just for snobby bragging rights. I like to know that I worked hard for my Prada and Chanel bags. Not just charged it.

    Relax. Yeah, I NEED to do more of that. πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: It Is Not Always About The Final Destination « Healthy, Happy, Whole

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