I’d like to think I’m talking to my adolescent would-be-maybe daughter or nephew or godchildren — Lord knows I have a ton of them (for which I feel greatly honored!).
I never cared for unsolicited advice. Anytime I needed tips on how to do “things I have apparently been doing wrong all this time”, I only have to scroll through my Facebook feed to stumble upon the appropriate article (with photos).
However, some of the best takeaways from people talking about figuring life out are the survivor tales and the accompanying realization that you are not the only one going through whatever you’re going through right now. That people have made it through their worst days alive, albeit on all fours… and so can you.
Conversely, unparalleled as every triumph may feel to you, the rest of us are also familiar with the little victories life hands out along the way — like a nice, warm day at the beach, a cab driver giving you the exact change, or laughing so hard you have to gasp for air. We are not as much of a stranger to each other as you assume us to be. We know what it’s like to be in those shoes.
I’m writing this shortly after another year has ended, and twenty five times of having to turn the proverbial page gets one to thinking about what went down all those years. Actions, once set in motion, proceed on their own trajectories of consequences and you just stand there in their wake – satisfied, knowing better, wanting to be better, and hoping others could learn a thing or two without having to go through all that fuss.
People always associate the new year with a blank slate — the way pretty much everything is at your age, and I hope you have even just a hint of an idea of how precious that is. For others like me, it is but a continuation of a struggle, but always with the chance to refine our approach. A long and winding path lies ahead of you, and I figure you could use some guidelines as much as I could use refreshing my outlook. So please try, despite your stubborn, restless minds to listen to what I’m about to say next. And I will do the same:
First of all, would you believe people CAN and used to live without smartphones? Put that thing down once in a while. Take everything in. Check out what a sunset looks like outside your screen.
Life will be easy and difficult and is a whole lot more than a contradiction. Do not be afraid of a little pain — they build you into a badass when the bigger waves crash. Stay brave and hopeful. You need to get through the bad days and trust that there will be better ones.
Believe in the redeeming power of love, but it does not always have to be like the ones you see on TV. It is way grittier and sweeter than they make it out to be. Sometimes love will prove not to be enough, other times it will convince you that you can take on the impossible. Let your heart try but know that when things have to end, things have to end. Think about it slowly and carefully but once you have made your choice, it would be best not to look back.
Realize your worth and what you deserve. You won’t always get what you want, so remember to enjoy the things you have that you used to only wish for. When you make a mistake, have the courage to forgive yourself. You will reach a point where you question everything about what you are doing; do not immediately take it as a sign that you’re going the wrong way. Your life is not going to be summed up by who you are at 25 or 26.
Do not underestimate the value of good company. If you think you can survive on your own, think again. Seize the opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes because yours is not the only way to go about existing. When you’re “bored”, read, instead of refreshing your feed. (Who are we kidding, there’s always a household chore waiting to be done). Moisturize! Be the best version of yourself, because you have the potential to be — not because you have to live up to standards by which you judge people on social media.
You can get scared, but never let fear stop you. Do it with tears down your face if you have to. Always try to see the good in people, and if you have nothing nice to say, just try not to say anything, okay? Try to care about something outside of yourself, and when you do find a cause, be a doer more than a whiner.
Do not just lay on your bed and waste your life away.
A number of times you’ll find yourself wishing you could talk to someone from the future, and for now those are all I have. It can get annoying, being told what to do. These are not orders but, merely things I learned (and have yet to master) so far, and things even I have to be reminded about from time to time.
Because deep down aren’t we all 13-year-olds? Some of us have just been at it a lot longer than you have.
Needless to say, you are in for a bumpy, thrilling ride and what we have with us is a torn page of the guidebook. I wish I could say you should do all these things because I know them to be foolproof but the truth is everyone is still going to mess up at some point. I just want you (and me) to be able to find it in your heart to start over again and look at life with the beauty it has to offer. Sometimes it’s all we need to keep moving forward.