Being a teenager in the early 90’s sometimes makes me feel like I’m part of the in between generation.
I was born towards the end of the Generation X period, which means I was too young to have been a teenager in the cool 70’s or 80’s with their disco and glam rock, but too old to be counted as part of the Generation Y internet brood. My generation got early era hip hop and parachute pants … not really a fair and equitable division of generational traits.
I may be far beyond my teenage years now, but I still remember what it was like to be sixteen years old. I remember how big everything seemed, how important. I took everything so seriously back then.
I was reading a book the other day, “Dear Me: A Letter To My Sixteen-Year-Old Self”. It’s full of letters written by celebrities to themselves at sixteen, telling them things they wish they’d known back then. Quite a clever concept.
Thinking about it, I decided these are the things I’d like to tell my sixteen year old self if I ever got the chance.
- Moisturiser is your friend. I know it feels funky and greasy, but trust me it’ll make your skin better in the long term. Buy a cheap jar of it and enjoy how inexpensive it is … because soon enough you’ll be thinking of taking out a loan to afford the 150ml bottle of stuff you skin has evolved into needing.
- Pay more attention in school, study more, but not because of the “Bad Grade Boogieman”. Grades are important, and yours are good, but they’re not life or death the way everyone would have you believe. Study more because, as you’re going to learn in the next few years, you really do like to learn. I know it sucks that the curriculum isn’t set up well for learning for learning’s sake, but once you start your university degree you’ll see just how rewarding learning can be. Focus on that, don’t let other people convince you the world will end if you don’t get a high mark, and you’ll be fine.
- The friends you have now are going to be around for a very long time. Not all of them of course, but about half a dozen of them will still be here twenty or so years later. Treat them well. Trust them … I know it’s a hard thing to do but you can. They’ll prove themselves, I promise. And when people keep telling you how you’ll make new friends and how your high school friends won’t be around after you graduate, ignore them. They mean well, but they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
- Don’t worry so much about not knowing what you want to do when you leave school. Something we’ve learned is that only a small percentage of people end up doing what they decide when they’re sixteen. The rest of us go with the flow, let ourselves grow up into the people we’re going to be, and see where life takes us. We turn out okay, and we have a great job.
- You’re a lot funnier and cooler than you realise. I know that it’s not fashionable to like the things you like right now, but pretty soon there’s going to be a revolution and everything you’re into will suddenly be popular. Keep an eye out for something called “The Internet”, it’ll change everything.
What about you guys, what would you tell yourself if you could?