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. 🙂
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.
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 🙂