Hindsight is a bit**, but looking back on life lessons I wish I knew in my teens has helped me to ensure that I at least know them now. Your teenage years can be some of the most difficult, as well as some of the most enjoyable years of your life. My teenage years were a combination of heartache, frustration, thrills and fun times. Looking back, here are 8 life lessons I wish I knew in my teens...
1. Work Hard, Play Hard
Had I worked as hard as I played in my teenage years, not only would I have the awesome memories I do, but probably a more extensive curriculum vitae and longer attention span. What they teach you at school is important, if not for the content but for the principle of learning to apply yourself and establishing a strong work ethic early on in life, which will do doubt pay off later on down the line.
2. Love Your Body, It is Gorgeous
If I had the body I had when I was 17 now, I think I would walk around naked 24/7. However, at the time I can remember being so insecure about my body and feeling as though it didn't match up to the bodies of my peers and the girls in the magazines - the same is true for a lot of my friends. I now make a conscious effort to love my body and know that it is beautiful as there is nothing as bitter sweet as realizing how amazing something is until you no longer have it (as in when your boobies start hanging out with your knees).
3. Any Guy Who Pushes You to do Anything You Are Not Comfortable with Isn't Worth Crying over
I remember when I was 16 and my first boyfriend said that he wanted to have sex with me because all of his other friends were having sex. I told him I was unable to be of service and he broke up with me immediately. I felt like the biggest geek ever and thought I’d let something special go, crying for weeks afterwards. Looking back, not only did I dodge a bullet, but I wasted my tears on someone who obviously didn't deserve a minute of my time.
4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
It is cheesy but it is true. Looking back had I known that everything will be okay and that the world is not going to end if you fall out with your best friend or have visible sweat marks at the school dance - things may have been a little smoother throughout my teenage years. Life goes on, everything always blows over and sweat marks are the least of your worries.
5. Never Not do Something Because of How Long It Takes. the Time Will Pass Anyway
Your teenage years are about trying new things, throwing out what doesn't fit and figuring what you want to stick with. I often think had I stuck at my guitar lessons, or continued to pursue my fascination with synchronized swimming (odd I know) how good I would be at them now (or terrible, but either way, highly practiced). Hobbies are a healthy habit to begin and even more rewarding when you stick with them.
6. Trying to Be Anyone but You is Pointless
Who doesn't want to be liked in life? The problem is that as a teenager the opinions of our peers can sometimes matter a little too much. I think about the times I went with the majority or tried to be someone I wasn't in order to be liked, and it seems so pointless now. Apart from the fact that you are at your best when you are being yourself and confident in your own skin one of the biggest life lessons I wish I knew was that anyone who doesn't accept you as the way you are really isn't worth knowing.
7. Confidence is Key
No matter what skills you acquire growing up, what you look like or who your parents are- I think what helps you the most in life is having confidence in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, how are you ever going to do anything you have your heart set on? The sooner you start to believe in yourself the better, and what better time to start than your teenage years?
8. Smoking is the Devil
I don’t believe in having regrets, but I have to say, the one thing I wish I had never done as a teenager was try cigarettes. It is a slippery slope that many people either struggle with their whole life or spend years trying to resist as they know it is bad for them. The lucky ones are those who have never tried cigarettes, or should I say the smart ones are those who have never tried cigarettes.
The great thing about writing this list was that it made me reflect on how far I have come and ensure that I am taking care of myself now in ways that I may have neglected to do so in the past. If you are in your teens do any of these life lessons ring true for you? If you're past your teens but looking back, what do you wish you knew in your teenage years that you perhaps know now?