Ah, what it was like to be fourteen. For me that was just five years ago, but a lot has changed in five years; when I was fourteen, I felt pretty lost in life. I still do at nineteen, but this is some advice I would give to my younger self.
1. High school is not forever.
High school is rough—at least, it was for me. I learned a lot, but honestly what I learned was not academic. What I learned was mostly about myself. The advice I would give to my 14-year-old self, when I was a freshman in high school, not able to stand it, would be that high school ends. Those four years are nothing compared to what the rest of your life will be. Life after high school is so freeing; graduation will be a huge weight off your shoulders. Don’t worry: you’ll make it.
2. Take care of your body.
Back in high school, I rarely exercised. If I could give my younger self a piece of advice, it would be to exercise—even if it’s just a walk for a half hour each day. I promise, it will do you wonders.
Exercising is like a mental break for that period of time while you are doing it; you will wind up loving it if you just try it and stick with it. Don’t push yourself too hard. Also, don’t eat things you know will make you feel bad after. It’s not worth it.
3. Choose your health over school.
It is completely worth missing a day of school to retain your mental health. That one day of missing school work will not matter—you need to take care of yourself first. That is what is most important. School can wait. Your well-being can not. If you are not well, nothing else in your life will be.
4. Some friendships don’t last forever, and that is okay.
Not everyone you are friends with now will still be a friend after high school. That is okay. People drift apart, and friendships don’t have to end on bad terms. You can drift apart in a civil manner. Don’t feel ashamed or guilty if a friendship ends. Just take away the good memories and lessons you learned from that person.
5. Spend as much time with your grandparents as you can.
Talk to and spend as much time with your grandparents as you possibly can. They aren’t going to be around forever. Do not take for granted the time you have with them or the lessons you learn from them. You are going to miss it more than anything when they are gone.
6. Success comes with hard work.
Do not expect to be successful if you don’t work for it. Success does not just fall into your lap; you actually have to go out and earn it yourself. No matter what it is, you have to work for it.
Do not be lazy; try as hard as you can with anything you want to be successful in. This may mean stepping out of your comfort zone from time to time. Also, learn to accept rejection. That is going to happen on the road to success.
7. You’ll always remember your first time.
Not saying that when you lose your virginity it has to be some grand, special moment with the person you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. (Spoiler alert, it won’t be with that person). But anyway, just know that you are always going to remember it. Even if you just want to get it over with, you will remember the person and the memory years and years later. Just be careful.
8. Driving is not as scary as you think it is.
Okay, at first it is, but I promise you will get used to it. I know you are freaking out about driving. If you fail your driver’s test (spoiler alert: you will), don’t get too down on yourself. Driving will become second nature to you. If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to always pay attention to what you are doing.
Even if you are overwhelmed at a crazy intersection, just focus on what you have to do, not the other cars. Like anything, it takes getting used to. But, like many other things, you will get used to it.
9. Be yourself.
Cliché, right? I know right now you are a bit confused about who you are and worried about fitting in. Don’t worry about it. Be yourself—be different from everyone else. Do not care about what anyone else thinks of you because life is way more fun that way. You will be more respected and liked if you just do your own thing, unapologetically.
10. You still will not know anything five years later.
Sorry to break it to you, but even when you are nineteen, you will still not know much of anything. You will know more than when you were fourteen, but there will be a whole different set of lessons you have to learn.
But, that’s life, isn’t it? There are always lessons to be learned. Maybe five years from now, when you’re twenty-four, you can give yourself advice again. But don’t worry: you will be okay. I promise.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Let us and other readers know by commenting below.