“Being a kid (let alone a teenager) today is far more distressing than it was in my day.” I hate those words but it rings true.
My approach to parenting is mostly based on experiences I had growing up. Although the grey hair and mature facade may seem to make me look grown-up-ish, I now know what the old folk mean by ‘young at heart’. I remember it with clarity as if I’m living in the moment instead of it being the good old days. Thankfully I’m not reliving those days because I wouldn’t be able to deal with identity crisis and teenage hormone issues. Also because me today laughs more, has a much better dress sense, eats much much more and there’s zero worries about crushes.
It is for that reason I’m on top of my game and (much to their dismay) a few steps ahead of my pre-teen daughter and teenage son. I don’t sit with a straw and suck out the fun out of they lives though. Even though it’s best to learn from others mistakes as far as possible, some things you just have to experience yourself. Would I want my daughters to experience heartache at some idiotic boys hands? Or even for my son to be one of those idiot boys? Definitely not. Unfortunately I can’t be around all the time and when it comes to crushes, well everyone’s had their heart broken at some stage in their lives. Sadly there are so many things parents don’t have control over. We can guide them but not make their choices for them. We can just hope that the morals and values we teach them will not go to waste.
Today while thinking of ways to enlighten my brood, I was taken to a time in my life when I was in the middle of trying to figure out who I was, crushed on a guy who had no real interest in me, skipped school regularly, experimented with alcohol, did underage clubbing… The list is quite long but I think you get the point with the few mentioned. All of these things shaped me into the person I am today. I’m quite proud of who I’ve become. Somehow feel there are things that 15 year old me should know, so here goes.
1) No matter what you do, there is no way you can increase your boob size unless you gain lots of weight, get a boob job or fall pregnant. Whoever came up with rubbing onions on your breast should be slapped and so do you for actually trying it. You’ll find out that big boobs are not exactly your thing especially when you’re lactating and trying to shed baby fat afterwards.
2) Skipping school is fun but getting caught is not. My mom and dad is gonna freak and you’ll be grounded for a long time.
3) Your big crush is going to be a very unattractive adult. When you see him as I see him today, you’ll understand why I duck or literally turn the other way every time I see him these days. He’s not that in to you and you can’t make someone like you.
4) Don’t waste so much time and energy on trying to pursue your idea of beauty. At the risk of sounding like some stuffy grown up, true beauty comes from within. It really does. FYI: Adult you is rather beautiful (yes you can become a little vain at times) and I’m told I’m in my prime. Whatever that means.
5) Don’t be mean to the geeks and the nerds. They may just turn out to be your boss. Ok they’re not in real life but you’ll learn that it pays to have good acquaintances and relationships with people. It simplifies life.
6) Drinking alcohol may be fun but being hungover is a nightmare. You’ll learn some neat drinking tips and tricks when you’re older but you won’t need it because you’re too much of a control freak to ever get drunk, besides nothing cures your hangovers. Unfortunately you’ll never be able to escape that so you’ll only ever have some wine (you prefer red) on rare occasions.
7) I really wish that you’d stop being so angry all the time. You’ll still be an Alanis Morissette fan when you get to 2015 but seriously that music triggers your mood too often. Right now I’m trying to think of some other artists you should listen to but right now I’m not inspired by many 90’s artists so I’m gonna have to get back to you on that one.
8) You may not exactly know who you are right now but that’s ok. You’ll make that discovery in your late 20’s. It is by that time you’ll know to never seek validation from anyone and you’ll be so comfortable in your own skin except when you wear track pants. Don’t worry, you own two but hardly ever wear it. Many people don’t discover who they are until much later in life.
9) Smiling with one of your high school teachers is not going to help you in your exams. He’ll give you good grades for not working in class but you’ll cry a river during matric final exams because you’ll be totally clueless. Luckily that teacher is too scared to say anything and has enough sense not to pursue a student. Whew! I’m relieved every time I think of it. We could’ve been in so much trouble. Point is: STUDY!
10) That boy you kissed by mistake and avoid for weeks to come is the man you’ll be kissing deliberately till death do you part (if you don’t kill him first), so don’t run away from a good one. He’s worth it.
It would be great if time machines existed because I could go back and done many things differently. Then again to reiterate what I said earlier, I didn’t turn out half bad so I’m ok with 15 year old me. Like I said, some mistakes are better learnt firsthand. I would not have dated and married a wonderful (debatable some days) man if it weren’t for one of my mistakes 😉