Here’s what I would say to my teenage self…

I’m seventeen years old, riding the peaks and valleys of my hormonal roller coaster while juggling the weight of the world on my shoulders.  My self involved world includes my best friends, dud of a boyfriend and my crappy part-time job.  Thinking about my future means deciding which party to attend over the weekend.  I have enough on my mind so how could I possibly understand the importance of love, happiness and career goals?

Morning routines revolve around pinching the minefield of zits that have sprouted up all over my adolescent face followed by over powdering them to try and blend them.  Here I stand, in front of the mirror, trying to devise a believable story for staying home from school.  I’ve caught the flu.  I’m getting a cold.  I have a migraine.  How can I possibly go to school when I need to be at home slathering toothpaste, rubbing alcohol or any other home remedy on to my face.

Breakfast? Who has time for breakfast.  Coffee is the only thing I need.  My nine hours of sleep last night clearly wasn’t enough for me to feel refreshed.  And, don’t even get me started on my parents.  They don’t understand anything going on in my world or how difficult my life is.  Their divorce impacts me more than they’ll ever realize.  They clearly should have stayed together for my sake.  If I could roll my eyes harder, trust me, I would.

Sound familiar?  It’s hard to look back and consider myself as the same person.  It feels like I’m reminiscing on a strangers’ upbringing.

If I had to do it all over again, I would!  I would explore a variety of career options to develop an understanding of my passions.  I would research schools, programs and potential jobs to gain perspective and understand where my degree or diploma could lead me.  I would have conversations with as many people at school as I could.  I would learn from them.  I would listen to the advice that my parents give me, because let’s face it, they have been through it once before.  Even more importantly, I would respect them and show my appreciation instead of rebelling and arguing.  Angst isn’t a good look on anyone.  I would understand that their divorce really has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.  I would understand that people change, relationships change, and most of the time change is for the better.

Moreover, I would follow my dreams.  We don’t have to work in jobs that we aren’t passionate about just to make ends meet.  I would put energy, time and focus into what really makes me happy and then I would pursue it.  I would remind myself to keep searching for my bliss and to never let the pursuit of money overshadow the pursuit of achieving my goals.

So, what would I say to myself?

Wear your zits proudly.  Form friendships and get to know those around you.   Expand your social circle. You’d be surprised what you can learn from meeting a variety of different people.  Later in life, you will refer to this practice as networking.  Enjoy family time and the lessons your parents want to teach you, because one day they won’t be there to share their wisdom.

 Yes, life is difficult, messy and at times frustrating, but it is also a gift and we should all cherish every minute of it.

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