02 Aug 15 Things I Would Tell My Teenage Self
I look back on my life thus far and feel a sense of knowing that I didn’t have in my teenage years. When younger women approach me for advice, I find myself reminiscing on my own youth. I wonder, “What would I have done differently if I had known then what I know now?”
Adolescence is rough. Adults don’t understand, other kids are awful, and what is that zit doing in the middle of my forehead on picture day? Every problem became the end of the world.
To my teenage self’s surprise, the world has not ended yet!
There are countless things I’d want to teach my adolescent self if I had the opportunity, but there are a few that stand out as highlights to the lessons I would want Teenage Mable to learn.
15 Things I would tell my teenage self:
- Dream big dreams! Read as many books as you can!
- Eat as many vegetables and fruits as you can!
- Prioritize building muscle. Trust me you will thank me later!
- Consider going to college abroad or choose a domestic college with a strong study abroad program.
- Be serious about learning a foreign language or two.
- Volunteer in an elderly assisted living facility. There is so much wisdom there!
- Prioritize learning how to be a true friend.
- Make a list of the things that you think you are good at and read it every day.
- Push yourself to do your best in your school work.
- Forgive your parents. They are not perfect.
- Stay a kid as long as you can. In other words, it’s ok not to have all the answers.
- Your booty is beautiful! There are women around the world that are shaped just like you.
- Don’t be afraid of crowds. Push yourself to go to more social events outside of your small circle.
- Not having problems with your parents or bad grades or issues with drugs and sex does not mean you don’t have a testimony. It means that God preserved you. Be grateful!
- Continue to trust God in EVERYTHING. All things really do work together for your good.
When we live in the now of our lives, we experience a dichotomy: we’re trying to make the most of every moment, but we get caught up in the emotions and the thoughts that carry us into negative spaces. Emotions like anger have negative effects on our brain and body. We end up unintentionally letting others (and ourselves) down and blame ourselves. Those emotions can be translated into motivation that encourages improvement.
Teenagers don’t know that. It’s hard to explain the idea of turning the bad into good to overactive hormones.
Youth is painted as a time of naivety and freedom, but it’s actually that emotional dichotomy of trying to achieve a goal while being stifled by ourselves. Adolescence is a time of building our character slowly through our interactions with ourselves and the world around us. Disillusionment hits us when we realize our parents are people, too, as we start to see how they interact with one another. Self-consciousness prevents us from developing the confidence we deserve to have in our unique, beautiful bodies. Frustration bars us from learning from others as we desperately try to create our own identity.
We don’t have to know everything about ourselves. It takes decades to come into our own and learn to fully EMBRACE THE WONDERFUL THAT WE ARE.
I would encourage my teenage self to be a kid for a little while longer. There may be some fear when interacting with other kids, but it would do her well to get outside of her comfort zone. She had opportunities to meet people and experience things she didn’t, and I’d kick her butt into gear!
[bctt tweet=”There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to learn valuable skills like discipline and friendship and forgiveness. #40before40″ username=”MableTaplin”]
Finally, I think I’d give my teenage self a hug and tell her it’s okay to be okay. She has nothing to be afraid of because she’s going to grow into an independent woman that takes control of her own life. She’s going to live her dreams someday and she deserves to believe that just as much as I do.
What would you tell your teenage self?