Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but many of you would agree that if someone were to give genuine advice on things in a more loving way without judging and reprimanding, we could have saved ourselves so much heartache and pain. If my younger self knew even a few of these things, I would have made smarter choices. By simply…putting myself first.
Being a young adolescent is hard in any culture. But, some cultures bring a whole new meaning of ‘hard’ to this experience. Our culture differs even within itself, based on what place and socio-economic/educational background you come from. I came from somewhere in the middle. I spent my impressionable teens and years of early adolescence in that gap between wanting better normal life and being stuck in the nauseating mindset about girls in an average Southeast Asian society.
Most of the damage comes from ourselves as we navigate through the growing pains.
Don’t let anyone belittle you
If you are hearing a lot of “but this is our culture/because you are a girl/because society will not accept this/that is just how it is etc.”, and if you notice them to be limited to your geography, society and certain types of toxic people, then STOP degrading yourself. It is just a horrible phase of pedestrian company that you must endure. Get your education/learning/experience/connections and work towards moving to a better situation and environment. Remember that it’s only certain communities, classes and IQs of people, that this regressive thinking is limited to.
Don’t choose love interests over you
It is ok to want the same love situation you see in the movies. But what isn’t ok, is to give the other person too much power over us to govern what we do and what we choose. It is definitely not ok to think you are a loser if you don’t have a love interest in life. It is especially a sheer waste of valuable time when it doesn’t go smoothly. We also tend to put our crushes and love interests over ourselves. We demean ourselves based on what they think of us and how they make us feel! If the criticism isn’t coming in a constructive and helpful way-MOVE ON. You will regret ignoring important priorities and milestones because you were too caught up trying to make someone else happy.
Always put your needs first at that age.
If you do not invest time and energy in yourself and your needs in the age when you are growing and learning, your adult life will only become harder. Choose yourself. Over boys, over friends and peer pressure. Over others trying to paint you as someone with no character. And if choosing yourself is getting you painted as bitchy, remind yourself that strong focused females are repulsive to mediocre minds. Just choose your-damn-self.
Respect your parents
Your parents are the only people who will love your success genuinely and unconditionally. If they are on you for good grades and education, respect them for knowing what is important and fail-proof. I wish I had been kinder to my parents. Like a classic rebel, I obviously was against anything that my parents said or did. Always finding their rules and reprimanding to be unfair and punishing. I did not realise that world is cruel and what they did was out of fear to protect me, however they deemed fit. Now as an adult when I see kids and teenagers being unchecked and feeling entitled and doing foolish things, I thank them for always keeping me in line.
Pay attention to your health
These are also the years to develop healthy habits in terms of food and physical activity routine. Forming a routine is very important. Most successful people attribute their achievements to having a routine that they have always lived by.
Make time for the people who mean a lot to you
Make time for your favourite people. Find activities to spend more time with them. Attend their weddings and take vacations with them whenever you have the means and chance. I regret not having taken more efforts to fit these in my life.
Make education and learning a priority
Education is the only thing that will ensure you have the basic necessities covered in life. Education of some form is always important no matter what field. If you want to do something creative, it becomes even more important to get the relevant education to have your foundation strengthened. And to make the necessary contacts and get an insight into the finer details.Find time to learn something properly in relation to your hobbies too. You like music, get a few lessons in it; you like painting, learn a little about the different mediums and styles.
Do not be overly trusting with multiple “Friends”
You are bound to get hurt by who you think are friends. Trusting just a friend or two with all your secrets is fine but the more you expand that circle, the more chances that you would get hurt. Be skeptical of whom you trust. Better to be just a tiny bit cynical than get disappointed.
Find ways to travel more.
Travel is the only thing worth investing in. Just save up to travel to new places frequently. You will learn more than what any formal education can buy. It may help you find your calling by expanding your awareness of the world. It is important to gain perspective and to challenge the intellect to grow. Most importantly, whatever bothers you in your routine life will begin to stop bothering you. Simply by giving you a fresh outlook.
Never chase someone purely because you are scared to be alone:
While it is always better to have company in life, having the wrong type of company is actually worse for your health and happiness. Scientifically, humans are attracted to jerks because of the unexpected reward of their occasional affection. These idiots are not your last option. Open your eyes and explore. Not all hardships need to be romanticised. Be it love interests, relatives or friends. Anything that does not:
– add to your bank balance
– add to your knowledge
– pleases/entertains you genuinely
needs to GO.
Parents have a valid reason to not support your off-beat dream:
Our parents’ greatest fear is and ALWAYS will be that we would starve and be homeless. Or that we might make one wrong decision and end up achieving far less than what our parents gave us. It is also less about not believing in you and more about believing that the world is cruel and will be mean to us! If they do not understand the prospects of certain life choices, then they will discourage you from making those. Security in life is important to any parent. So research and find proper facts and basis for any choice to explain to them, BEFORE you begin fighting and accusing them with “You don’t understand me / you aren’t supporting my dreams / you are ruining my life”.
Girls are shamed a lot simply for even wanting something or having an opinion. That too more by other females who are nosy and probably jealous. Do not succumb to their insensitivity. Learn how to work them and get your way, and that will make your forced time with them bearable. I had a horrifying teacher like that and also a few people around me that awful; only bringing judgement and negativity in my life. It affected me a lot and broke my confidence for a few years. Took me a while to become the over-confident spectacle that you know and love.
Ah growing up is such a trap! You would think that it gives you freedom to choose what you want. What it actually gives you is a headache from constantly having to choose between what you ‘want’ and what you ‘should’ pick. Plus 1654673 bills to pay. Good news, we all make certain set mistakes like clockwork but most of us come out the other side unharmed. Well…mostly.
Where’s the hygge?
Being kinder and a little more attentive to ourselves is liberating. Take comfort in the fact that it is actually normal to want to do stupid things that everyone warns you would regret later. If you learn that this is the most dreamy and amazing time of your life, you would cherish even the bad days a lot more. And THAT is priceless.