A to Z: Make an alphabetical list of advice for someone who is about to become a teenager.
I’m writing this in the hopes that it touches one person, one teenager. I had a very difficult time growing up and into the person that I have become today. I wish I had someone to guide me but did not. I had to learn everything the hard way so if this help even one person, that would make me happy…
a: Accept who you are. If there is something about yourself that you do not like, then know you have the power to change it. You are in control of yourself. You and only you. I’ll add one more here: Advice. Take it. You ask for it, but might not take it – take it from an adult or someone that has been through it before. They say we all have to learn from our own mistakes, but that gets really old, really fast. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to actually take good advice and not have to go through the pain and suffering? Advice, it’s a good thing. Ask multiple people for advice and come to a consensus before making a big decision.
b: Blaze a new trial! Be free, be nice to yourself, have fun, have friends, go out and do things; have adventures. Life is short and before you know it you’ll have a boat load of responsibilities ~ enjoy the “easy” life while you can and don’t be in a rush to grow up too fast. It will happen on its own, trust in that.
c: Celebrate who you are; you are unique – there will be friends (and family) that betray your trust but if you are solid in who you are- you will manage to get by. This is a reflection of them, not of you. You are just fine the way you are.
d: Destroy your enemies by ignoring them. Do not lower yourself to their level, it will drive them crazy! Smile instead, and make them wonder what you’re smiling about 🙂
e: Educate. Get your smarts on. Put that before your friends and your boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s important and you only have one shot at it. If you apply yourself, amazing things will happen. It just takes a little effort and concentration. You got this. Not only do you have awesome friends, a boyfriend/girlfriend- but you have straight A’s too- you’re nobody’s fool.
f: Have faith in God. When you are feeling down, turn to him and pass along your burdens. He will take them from you and guide you. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it. God will lead the way. Change is scary for everyone and hard at first but once you get into the swing of things; you’ll wonder why you ever worried to begin with. Have faith.
g: Go AWAY from drama. If you see a hint of it, run in the other direction. It’s so stupid and pointless. It’s just a waste of your beautiful energy. Rather, invest your time and energy into something positive and be productive with your precious time.
h: Help others in need. Help out at a soup kitchen or go through your items of clothes or other things and give them to charity. Help out at a food bank, start a fundraiser, ask what you can do at your church group to help those in need. The feeling you get from helping someone that has to go without is a feeling like you cannot imagine. You are generous with your free time and that makes you an excellent person 🙂
i: Investigate. Be sure who you are surrounded by. If you lie with dogs, you are going to get fleas. Be sure the friends you pick are worthy of you and are good people. You are who you hang out with. Don’t ride the fence on this one, be very choosy about who you associate with. Not everyone has good intentions and are mature enough to hang with you.
j: Don’t be jealous of ANYONE. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. You are literally one in a million and amazing and unique. Have the ability to evolve and grow and realize that comparison is just wasting your precious time. There is only ONE you. Period. End of story.
k. Knit. OR find a hobby. Learn from your mother or grandmother. Bake some cookies or run in a 5k – decoupage, craft, create, and keep going – let your personality shine through your work and it will be as unique as you are. You are an original work of art.
l. Love yourself. I know it sounds corny but be kind to yourself. WE go through life trying to lift everyone else UP while we bring ourselves down. You wouldn’t talk to your friends the way you would talk to yourself. BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND LOVE YOURSELF ~ you cannot be a good friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, daughter, son, sister, brother or anything to anyone unless you truly love yourself. You love yourself and it will expand everything; your confidence, your ability to love others, and how you treat others and how you are willing to be treated.
m. Save your money. Sounds silly but now is a good time to start to learn how to be responsible and learn the value of a dollar. I wish someone had taught me how to manage money better. Spend some on yourself of course, but SAVE. Save it up for a rainy day or save some up for a trip- travel so some unknown off the grid place where you can explore and discover new things. Take lots of pictures of your adventures.
n. Nature, enjoy it in all its glory. Get out and go hiking, birding, fishing, rock climbing; it’s FREE and it’s good for the soul. Take as many pictures as you can, post them on-line or submit to a magazine or website for publication! Really dig deep on this one and enjoy the simple beauty that surrounds you. Take a trip to a natural historical site and take it all in.
o. Be open to new places and new things. Step out of your comfort zone and give something new a try. Does the thought of sushi make you gag? Give it a try, you may just love it and find yourself craving it. You’ll never know unless you try.
p. Photography or poetry? Try to tap into something new. Take some pics; we all have camera’s on our cell phone or try you hand at poetry- you can even keep a diary of it on your own private (or public) blog. I wish I had kept a blog when I was a teen. Write about your passion and write about what makes you tick.
q. Never quit. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something or that you are not good at something. You do YOU. Be yourself and do what you want, follow your heart. If you want to learn how to play the guitar, take lessons. If you want to join a team at school, go for it. If at first you don’t succeed, try-try again. Broaden your horizons.
r. Respect others opinions. You don’t have to like them, or even agree with them – but be respectful. This means that you are entitled to your own opinion also (isn’t that great?) and that even though you may not agree with someone, you’ll know in your heart that you can disagree but still hold the conviction in your heart that your own opinion is out there and it’s yours to keep. Also, sometimes listening to someone elses point of view can widen your perception of a situation and maybe even open your eyes to something that you did not know before.
s. Work on your self-worth and self-esteem. It’s not always handed to you, you are not always “built up” in this life, at times we are torn down. REALLLLLLLYLY work on noticing your strengths and celebrating them. Know that you are worth something. You are just as good as everyone else and you matter. You may not be good at everything and that’s ok- rarely someone is. Just be yourself and love and accept yourself for who and what you are. As you grow and evolve you will need this self-worth and self-esteem.
t. Teach other how to respect you. Teach others how to treat you and how not to bully others. You can set the stage for how you are treated in this life; what is acceptable and what is not. YOU SET THAT STAGE. You are not going to be a doormat. You have more self-worth than that and do not accept anything less then the excellence that you deserve.
u. Understanding that we are all different and all come from different backgrounds. Race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, creed, politics, etc. Try to walk in someone elses shoes for a change and see things from their perspective. Be accepting of others and remember that you are not perfect, nobody is. Only God is and only God can judge. Live and let live.
v. Vent your feelings to someone you trust. Whether they are happy, sad, frustration, anger, or whatever. Don’t hold it in, it only hurts your precious heart.
w. Be weird. Be unique. Be yourself and don’t let anyone tear you down. Life isn’t about fitting in with the “in crowd” – you want to remember that these kids you know now might not be in your adult life- it’s better to stand out for your individuality than to be just like everyone else just so you don’t get picked on. Remember to embrace the weird, those are the fun people, those are the ones that step out of the box and make things interesting.
x. X-out all of the guilt and shame you have if something happened to you that you had no control over. If you cannot, seek help from your counselor. If you are hurting inside from something that someone did to you, there are people to talk to. You may not be brave enough to tell your parents but you can always tell your closest friend about what happened and how it STILL makes you feel – or you can talk to your counselor, your church, your close family member, a sibling, an aunt/uncle or even your cousin. Do not carry around guilt and shame for something that you did not do. X-out and nip that in the bud before it begins to fester and grow into something you cannot handle. I’ve been there, I know.
y. YOLO! So, live your best life. Be the best person you can be. Create memories, make your mark- find your passion and give it meaning. Take it to the next level and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Have conviction in your heart and follow your dreams no matter how impossible they may seem. You can do anything you want, this is your life!
z. Zip along in this life, don’t dwell on the small crap. Don’t let the little stuff weigh you down, that’s unnecessary drama and that’s why they call it the “little stuff”. Let things roll off your back, choose your battles wisely, let go of what you can and stand up for what you think is really important. Keep on moving and stay positive – be zippy and positive. You carve out the life you want. You can do this, it’s all up to you!