The Best Years of Your Life
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
People say it all the time. They look at the high-school kid and shake their heads and say "You had better enjoy it. These are the best years of your life."
Who do they think they are kidding?
Would any of us really want to go back to high school? Oh, I know, we had no bills, no real job, no mortgage. Maybe when people look back they are only remembering the halcyon days of summer where all they did was hang out with their friends and where finding out that the cute boy liked you was enough to send you into giddy orbit. I am sure many people (though not me) have happy memories of their high school years. But really, would you want to be a teenager again?
Just think, you could go back to the uncertainty, the feeling like you have to fit in. You could worry again about whether that cute boy likes you and then be devastated when he doesn't. You could go back to thinking that it all really matters, back to not knowing that in the grand scheme of things, none of it is really important. Because really, that is what is wrong with being a teenager. Maybe as adults we still worry about some of the same things. We are still upset when someone doesn't like us. We still have a nagging feeling that maybe we should try harder to fit in. We still want to hang out with our friends. We still want friends. However, now we have perspective and that makes all the difference. Teenagers tend to have an all or nothing mindset whereas, we as adults, are able (hopefully) to shrug our shoulders and move on.
As an adult, I am happy to me be. I like me. If someone thinks I am too quiet, read too many books, or am strange because I don't like alcohol, I don't really care. As a teenager, all those things made me boring. Really, I think if I could be any age I wanted, I would be about 27. That was a great age. I felt confident and reasonably sure of myself. Plus, I hadn't had kids yet, so, no stretch marks.
So tell teenagers it gets better. Tell them high school is hard. Tell them it is okay to be themselves and that people like them the way they are. Don't tell them these are the best years of their lives. It is not true.
And don't tell them about the stretch marks. Some things are better left to the future.