Teenagers: 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 16
I can honestly say that I can’t remember much of what I was thinking at 16. If I actually sat down and thought about it, I can remember that I wanted to have fun and I thought that life would figure itself out. I wasn’t aware of many of the things on this list, and if I was, it wasn’t to the extent that I emphasize them below. A 16 year old would not take in most of this list, but just being aware of it will mean that when the time is right, they’ll remember this and it will help them in the way that it needs to.
1. The world doesn’t revolve around your friends
If they don’t agree with something that you’re doing, or none of them are following a path that you want to go on, that shouldn’t stop you. There will be so many people who come in to your life in the future, and only by doing what you love will you meet the long-term friends that will have the same interests and aspirations as you.
2. You will change your mind a lot so keep your options open
You will have so many opportunities and options that will come your way, so always remain open to new experiences. If you’re completely sure of how you want your life to pan out, then commit, but if there’s any doubt at all, leave your options open. Both in the jobs that you pick, and the subjects you study in school. This time in your life is about exposing yourself to as many experiences as possible to find out what you really like.
3. Relationships are not the most important thing
You might think that if you don’t have a partner yet, that you’re missing out and everyone’s getting a head start. Movies, celebrities, and the people around you may make you think you should be doing all those things, but the truth is, in hindsight, you don’t. In fact, the longer you wait, the more you will know about yourself to enable you to be in a better, and more satisfying relationship. Don’t force it, there’s no rush.
4. You don’t know how much you don’t know so be open
At this age, you may think you know it all, but don’t think you know everything. There is so much you don’t know, so instead of putting up your guard, be a sponge to everything around you. Analyze and learn the rules that govern everything around you. Be one part observer, and one part participator.
5. Work experience is going to be as important as studying
Get a job and learn as much as you can. Take on as much responsibility as they will give you and work harder than anyone else. If you’re studying, focus on school as well, but if you’re not, spend as much time as possible trying to learn everything this position can teach you. If it’s making you happy, stay longer, and if it isn’t, try something else and repeat. School qualifications are nothing without work experience.
6. Start saving money regularly
A little each month can go a long way one day. It’s not for retirement but for a time when you need it the most. You may have a business idea or want to go traveling and saving today will mean when the time is right, you have the chance to take advantage of it.
7. Think big picture and long term
Look into the future and realize that everything you want, you have to go and get. Nothing will just happen and leaving it to fate will get you nowhere. There is a lot of competition for everything worth having so be ready to work hard for what you want.
8. Respect your family and elders
Your family is ultimately trying their best to make you better based on their experience. They know much more than you do, so you might want to listen. Respect your elders because you’ll be one of them soon enough.
9. Partying and drinking are not an essential part of growing up
Socializing is, but that doesn’t have to include the booze and the late nights, unless that’s what you want for the rest of your life. Spend more time in social clubs and meet like-minded people. Learn how to become the social creature you want to be without the aid of alcohol or any other social lubricant
10. Take care of what you eat and look after your body
The older you get, the harder it is to stay fit and healthy so take care of what you have now and don’t damage your body unnecessarily by having a poor diet, smoking or drinking. You’ll pay the price later.
These are the 10 things I wish I knew when I was 16, what are yours?