10 Things I’d Say To My Teen-Self & Teens Now: Part 3
1. Enjoy your teenage years
I always wanted to be more than a teenager. If you’re in your young teens, try not to hate on the ‘oppressive’ feeling that is sparked by the angst of your parents having a hard time letting go, and your need for independence. Enjoy being under their wings for a bit, whilst learning who you are.
If you’re in your later teens..enjoy this time. Know it’s such a rich precious time in life when you, most likely, won’t have stacks of responsibility but will be, hopefully, enraptured by the world’s freedom.
2. Set your goals, but be flexible
I put WAY too much pressure on myself at 18-19 to make a decision about my life path. I think it’s good to have over-arching goals for your life. But be flexible. I see it all the time, a path cleared, lit, paved…and then it doesn’t feel right..but obligations kicks in and you feel miserable walking down it. The best thing I ever did was quit my first uni and transfer after my first semester of uni. The other best thing I did was moved to Australia with two suitcases and no plans. Trust the universe to provide, and live.
3. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and let life happen
There’s SO much pressure on you as you get into your mid-late teens. Body.Image.Career.Loans.Uni.Jobs….blah blah blah. I think it’s important to live life with maturity…but don’t let the pressure of life suck the life out of you. Let life happen, be open, gracious, kind and excited.
4. Compassionately live life
I was thinking of this as the MOST important thing that I wish I would have harnessed early on. When I first started losing weight I didn’t hate on myself..only after I let myself loose my spirit (see #8), did I realise that I wasn’t being compassionate towards myself. LOVE YOURSELF! Where you are, every single day, in whatever shape you maybe. You’ll NEVER be perfect, and the moment you take the sterile, abrasive mentality of perfection away, you’ll start to not only find love for yourself, but for those who are in your life.
I’m so thankful for my aerobics teacher in high school..she taught me the importance of moderate, healthy exercise. Moving doesn’t mean become a cardio junkie or an exercise obsessed teen. Just move for health, for endorphins. Find something that YOU love. Run, cardio, yoga, Pilates, dance, hiking, swimming, diving, karate, weight…I don’t CARE. I just think that if you implement HEALTHY movement and relationship with exercise in your teens, it will transcend into your twenties when you’ll most likely be sitting behind a desk.
6. Learn to appreciate red wine, dark chocolate and black coffee
Not red wine until you’re 21 in the USA ;), or 18 if you live in Australia. Start to appreciate good black coffee, 85% dark chocolate!!!! Expand your knowledge of food, local produce, organic, ways of cooking..romance food. I didn’t do that. I lived off to diet food, diet coke and simple foods that didn’t have flavour. Explore, food is amazing stuff and the better able you are to ROMANCE instead of shunning, hating, depriving, and deploring it…you’ll have a more beautiful life.
7. Embrace your sexuality & beauty, but don’t throw it away or rush it
Be feminine or masculine. Dress up. Throw snazzy shoes on and work it. Wear sweat pants with wet hair and no make-up. Embrace all of the beauty that you are. You don’t have to be anything other than you are. Being sexy doesn’t mean huge tits and tight clothes, ripped muscles and a tight ass…it’s more than that. It’s how you carry yourself, your confidence..it’s the whole package. It’s a very powerful and beautiful thing.
Beauty is not ONE size. Beauty is you. Beauty is the spirit that shines in your eyes when you’re in their presence. I thought beauty was a package with a ‘bow’ and it’s not.
There are going to be HEAPS of pressure on you to explore your sexuality throughout your teens…there will most likely be opportunities. Be kind to this process and love yourself. Whatever you decide to engage or not engage in..make sure it’s ok with you in your heart. Never.ever.ever give your sexuality away, it’s such a beautiful experience that should be embraced, cherished and explored…ONLY when YOU’RE ready.
8. Never enable someone to take your spirit
I have ALWAYS looked for outside validation. I think excelling, reaching your potential and accomplishing things are important. However, basing your self-worth on only external validation is unhealthy. No one deserves your self-worth, except you.
9. Smile, shine, dance, sing
Embrace the opportunities in life to have fun. Good fun 😉 Life on the edge a bit, but smile. Dance in the rain. Wake up with the sun. Travel to places you thought you’d never go. Make mistakes and learn. Laugh.a.lot! Embrace the beauty of life.
10. Define yourself knowing everything…but only listening to you
There will FOREVER be advice, ways of doing things, perspectives on beauty, love, success, relationships, education, ways of eating, life…and I say listen..and then sort it out for yourself. I spent so much of my teenage and young-adult life tossing between this-and-that..trying to figure out what was best. I’ve learned that, again, I’m only accountable to myself. Life is a potluck of ideas..you serve yourself.
Teen Week: Words That Heal is an annual blog series that occurs the last week of March, where bloggers use their sites speak out about their experiences with body image, sexuality, and self-esteem during their teen years. The series was started in 2011 after it came to my attention that there was an enormous population of teen readers out there looking for body-loving-inspiration, but much of the material floating around the blogosphere was aimed to adults.