Soon I will be leaving my teens behind. It is scary, disappointing and exciting at the same time. It is scary because I don’t feel prepared because it seems as if I have grown up all of a sudden. It is disappointing because I did not turn out to be half the person I expected myself to be. And I am excited because I it feels like jumping off from the top diving board into the pool. I have nerves, but I plan to turn my regrets into goals, my aspirations into reality and I hope to have the least number of regrets possible.
Though my teenage life was a rollercoaster there were quite a few lessons I learned, a few of them have stuck with me. I thought it would be fun to share a few of them, so here I am uploading them on os.me.
1) When not dropped at the right time it becomes a burden: All through my teens I insisted on holding on to things which I knew were not bringing any value to my life anymore, sometimes also robbing me of things which were valuable to me. These ranged from friendships and dropped down to extremely boring novels, but I was stubborn to finish them just because I had started them. Now I realize if I was ready to drop things it would have saved me a lot of time and the pain of negative emotions running through my mind, also, opportunities I grabbed after dropping these things would have borne fruit earlier because of the investment of time and energy. I was dragging the burden of doomed friendships, skills I had lost interest in, and things which people told I should do. All this while not realizing I was missing out on new opportunities and new found interests many of which now are blooming.
2) Guilt is the mind’s poison: This leads me to an emotion which I refused to drop for a long time, guilt. Though it was feeding on my mental peace I think I had held on to it. I had felt guilty about the smallest of things. If I were to believe my teenage mind more than half of my actions were wrong and were leading to a life of doom. If I could advise to my teenage self, I would tell him that even if my actions were wrong and no matter how wrong they were they cannot be changed now, what I am in control of is the present. My present should not be ruined by the guilt of my past actions. I did something wrong, accept it, don’t keep making the same mistake and move on. Secondly, you don’t owe people what they think that you owe them, so, don’t waste time trying to settle imaginary debts and going on guilt trips when you can’t settle them. The first step to get rid of guilt is to accept that what you did was wrong, the second step is accepting that mistakes don’t make you evil, thus there is no need to be ashamed. Learn from the past and make your present as good as you can.
3) Learn to say no: My second mistake leads me to main reason of my guilt, saying no. I found it really hard to say no in my teen years and when I did, I felt guilty. I thought I was the reason of the hurt other people felt when my response didn’t match their expectations. Looking back if I had said no more often my life would have been a lot simpler and productive, but I should have also learnt the right way of saying no (I still need to figure out the right way of saying no, a post from you might be helpful 😊).
4) Sleep: Sleep was an area where I should have said a lot more yeses, but I was always saying no to my body’s need of adequate sleep. Sure, school had a major role to play in it because they were the ones deciding on my sleep schedule, but I needed to act on decisions which could have helped my sleep. I remember the time where my average sleeping time was 4.5 hours and I had two intense hour-long workout sessions, and studies. After around five months my body finally gave up and punished me with a constant migraine for over a month, which I could have got rid of faster if I too had given up on depriving myself of sleep. Only if I had slept more, I would have done better in activities because of which I was depriving myself of sleep, I would have less mood swings and lash outs, and I would have been far more happier.
5) Jump into opportunities and embracing risks: My final mistake was not jumping in enough. I believe myself to be a teenager who is ready to take risks and jump into situations, this has also got me into trouble, but most of the time it has pushed me forward. The trouble part too is not all bad. Though sometimes I got into trouble because I was being reckless, but other times it was because I decided to bend the rules a bit (for good causes of course 😉). Things like visiting the school gym at forbidden times got me into trouble loads of times, but I continued to do it because the upside compensated the bad for me. In all seriousness, often what seems like risks are not even risks, which is why we have to jump in. Visiting the gym and uploading my first article both felt like big risks, turns out they were not. I never lost my badge which I thought I would lose by getting caught breaking the same school rule multiple times, and people did not make fun of my articles which they had in my head multiple times. The problem is I did not jump in enough. I should have taken more risks, pushed myself more and sometimes needed to put blinders on because there were all kinds of distractions preventing me from jumping in.
Now that I am done with reflecting on the mistakes I made in my teenage years. With a heavy heart I await the day when I would step into my twenties, ready to make some more mistakes and learn from them.