Sixteen. It’s been a beautiful, indescribable, and eventful year. On the other hand, it’s opened my eyes to the strenuous obstacles of growing older, and overcoming emotional and physical barriers that I have faced, as well as many others. Seventeen will be right around the corner, and I will grow older. With growing older, comes harder decisions, and wiser choices in the path I decide to strive for. As for this, I am glad for the knowledge I obtained throughout this year of my life. Here is sixteen things, I learned at the age of sixteen.
People will come and go.
At this prime of an age, people will always be in and out of your life. That boy that claimed to be in love with you, will move on to another girl. Those friends that you made freshman year, may or may not still be by your side. But the most important part, is to accept that people will be this way your whole life. As we all move forward in life, we all have different goals and ambitions. New friends and relationships are right around the corner. Don’t get to caught up on things that may be temporary to begin with. Trust the magic of new beginnings.
Document everything that you can.
As we all grow up living in this world of social media, it is very easy to have every single moment of our lives documented for the good and the ugly. I think documentation is such a amazing thing. One day to to look back and remember what certain days were like, the places you traveled to, and most importantly that people that you did those things with. So take pictures of everything and post that thought on your mind. One day looking back, you will see the growth you have accomplished throughout the years.
Travel as much as you can.
This year, I got another chance to travel to California. But I think there is a much deeper meaning to traveling, then just seeing another place. You for once, get to have the weight of home lightened off your shoulders. I think for teenagers that is so important. We are all so focused on school, friends, work, and responsibilities. For once, it feels so relieving to take a break and get that burden off your shoulders for the most part. So travel as much as you can. See new sights, try new foods, take pictures, and make memories. Those things will all come with time, and I learned don’t always have to be rushed.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
This year, I left public schools and decided to try online schooling. This taught me many things within itself. As we attend public school, most teenagers want to try and fit in with everybody as much as possible, it makes the experience a little bit easier, right? Of course, me being the person that I am, couldn’t do this. I learned so many things about myself this year socially, mentally, politically, etc. In the grand scheme of things, it won’t be worth it trying to fit in. Stand out. Be different. We all have that spark in us that wishes to fit in, but not fitting in is even more ravishing.
Test scores are not the end of the world.
Going throughout high school, we are expected to have to preform well on all tests, assignments, and retain that information at the same time. But the honest truth is, sometimes we just can’t do that. We are humans, not robots. We all have off days. A bad test score does not reflect you has a person. Do not beat yourself up about it. We have plenty of time to fix our mistakes.
Change your style.
This year was the first year I even touched hair dye, and it felt great. Of course I didn’t go for much of a change, but it’s a start. I realized my style always continues to change every year I grow, and I hope it always is that way. I think embracing change is something we all should learn to do. So dye and cut your hair, change your style, try new makeup, and expand your horizons.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
This was a big lesson for me this year. As I was thrown back and forth between my fathers and mothers house, I have realized that staying put, was probably the best decision for me. If you’re anything like me, you don’t like to stay in one place for too long. In the end, I’m glad for the choices and decisions I acted on, because that brought me to right now. But the grass isn’t always greener, and situations may not work out the way you wish they did. I learned to always work out all issues, instead of continually running away from them.
Give yourself a break.
This year I was plugging away at school, work, travel, and more while all trying to not have a mental breakdown. (Yes, constant work will do that to you). So just sit and breathe. Take one night to just relax and watch a movie, get deep into thought in a novel, or even a relaxing nap. At the age, it is constant going, and if you are as hard on yourself as I am, you know it’s hard to slip in breaks once in a while. I’m here to say it’s okay to do so. Give your mind and body a rest.
Try new foods.
As you get older, you obviously have figured out what things you like, and don’t like. But this isn’t always true. (Imagining me, complaining about how much I don’t like sushi, and now it’s like my favorite food ) My point is, we are so quick to judge certain things, but we discover new things about ourselves every day. Broaden your horizons and you will be surprised on things you start to like as you get older.
A first job, isn’t going to be fun. At all.
My first experience of work took place this year. Trust me, it’s not fun, but on the other hand it’s so enjoyable to make your own money. Also, it’s a huge experience. You get to see the the good, the bad and the ugly ( yes by the ugly I mean those costumers that find joy in spending their day yelling at 16 year olds) but in the end, I woundnt have it any other way. You have to start somewhere. P.S seventeen, bring me more job opportunities!
Mend all broken relationships.
We are constantly spewing words out of our mouth as teenagers, and sometimes we don’t mean the things we say. Our hormones tend to be going insane half the time. Words, tend to alter our relationships with friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends etc. I learned this the hard way. I have loved and I’ve lost this year. But one thing I learned, is to recover all relationips we can. This could be our last day with a person. I learned to forgive and forget. Before I say things, I sit and contemplate how this will hurt the other person, and if what I’m saying was necessary or right. Sometimes sleeping on something before we react, stops us from saying something in the heat of the moment out of frustration and anger.
Stand up for what you believe in. I think this picture says it all. This was my first experience going to a protest. Let’s just say I was one of the youngest people I saw as I looked around, and I was pretty proud of that. In all this hurt and division that we have faced as a whole this year, I have decided to do anything I can to contribute to this movement. I hope to inspire people to do the same thing. Do not go with the flow. You have every right to have a opinion in everything. Your opinion is valid, and is deserved to be heard. People like us, will change the world.
If something makes you happy, do it.
This was one of the bravest things I did all year. I wanted it for myself, and it was very important to me. That is what my tattoo means as well, that anything in life I want, I will get it. I believe in myself. No, everybody won’t agree with the things you do, and trust me, I got crap for this tattoo. But in the end, if something makes you happy, then by all means do it. At the end of the day it’s yourself that you need to come to peace with, and if something contributes to that, I encourage it all the way.
Take yourself out of every situation that hurts you.
Among the many encounters we have daily and relationships we mend as we get older, toxic places and relationships we have placed ourselfs in is a daily occurrence. As we get older, we discover the things that continually hurt us, and the things that don’t. Break the cycle. If you know something isn’t good for you, stop letting it hurt you or affect you. Protect yourself, and wait until it is okay to re enter the situation. Sometimes that day will never come, but we can all hope for positivity in all situations. This one goes hand in a hand with mending relationships, but in some cases, mending them may take time and patience.
Eat that burger.
As teenagers, we tend to have trouble with circulating thoughts about self image, insecurities we think we have, insecurities we are told we have, and the constant thought of the way we should look and the way are content looking. I’m here to say that I am happy being 140 pounds, and happy with my weight. Being slim is okay, but being curvy is more than okay. We are taught that the girls in the magazines are airbrushed to perfection, do not carry any extra weight, and have long slim legs. But I never strived to look any other way then what I do now. So eat that burger, because beauty holds no number.
It’s okay to have a different plan.
As we come to the conclusion that in 2 years we will officially be a adult, that comes many with many future decisions. We have to decide if college will be in the cards for us, what jobs we will uphold, what job we want for the rest of our lives after college, where we will stay in the meantime, and where are hearts long to be. As for me and all my friends, I have the craziest future plan. No it’s not what everybody does, no it’s not going to easy, but it’s possible. There is nothing in life that isn’t possible. So that “different” life plan that you decide to venture on, whatever that may be, will work out. I promise that it will.