Most of my readers know that I am the Mama Bear to both a teenager and a toddler (yes, I know that big age gap may seem crazy but I LOVE it!). Currently my teenager is going through all the normal things that a 15 year old goes through. When he exasperates me the most I try to remember what it was like to be that young. How every feeling seemed larger than life, how I seemed invincible, how I rarely looked beyond the problems of the present moment. I think about the adult that I am now and what I want my teenager to know as he goes through the next few year. These are my thoughts in absolutely no order other than how it pours out of my heart...
First off, I love you more than you can ever imagine. I am so proud of the young man that you are. You are truly an amazing, smart, funny and awesome human being. I admire the confidence you have and that you are willing to try new things. I admire that you aren't afraid of life. I want you to know that I am behind you 100%, supporting you and encouraging you. I may not always agree with you. I know there are times that you will really not like me, but I am okay with that. I will keep loving you no matter what.
I want you to know the following things about this time in your life:
Those HUGE feeling that you are having right now are not all encompassing. You are more than those feelings. You get the choice of how you want to let them affect your life. You can choose not to give these feeling power over your life. For example, you can choose not to be afraid of things in life that seem daunting and you can choose not to let anger pull you down into drowning. You are in control. Listen to your gut, trust those little whispers that say 'You can do this!'.
Know that you are not defined by who you are with. You are a completely separate person! How cool is that... no really think about it for a minute... You get to make your own choices, do your own things, have your own interests! Don't change who you are, what you do or the things you like just to keep friends or a girlfriend around. Guess what... if they don't like you for who you are, they aren't for you. I know, it sounds so simple... but IT IS SIMPLE! You are amazing just the way you are and if someone can't see that they aren't worth your time and effort.
Understand that life changes. I know that you have already been through so many changes, and you are pretty awesome about rolling with them, but I mean this more in a personal sense...Who you are changes. What you do for work and fun will change. This is exactly how it is supposed to be. Change isn't bad. Plus, remember, YOU ARE IN CONTROL, you get to decide what changes to make. Embracing the ebb and flow of life will make your days so much easier. That makes me think of the age old saying 'Take one thing at a time.' You know what?... the people that say that aren't lazy or stupid, they actually have it figured out; if you tackle each thing as it comes at you life is easier. You don't end up with a pile of crap that you need to deal with. Take a little chunk out of each project every day and soon you don't have hours of work and worry, you have things under control and can rest with ease knowing that.
WRITE THINGS DOWN. Seriously, I read back over my blog posts and it teaches me something new each time. Why? Because as much as I would like to believe that my mind is a steel trap, it just isn't. Thoughts, ideas, appointments, they slip out while I am doing other things. It is totally okay to not remember stuff, but if you write it down you have a much better chance of hanging onto the lessons you are learning and the things that you should be doing.
Listen to adults you respect, hear what they are saying. It's simple... we have more life experience than you do. No, we don't have it all figured out, we never will, no one ever will. It is okay to not have it figured out. What you should do is at least listen to what we have to say and then weigh those thoughts with your own when you are making a decision.
Don't stress to much about the future because...the future is unpredictable. It's alright not to know what you want to do, where you want to go to college, if you want to go to college. Don't make your choices based on what pleases us, your parents, we don't have to live your life. Life changes, remember? So take the time to think about where you might want to end up and then talk with someone you trust about it, lots of someone's if you need to, just don't bottle up fear and worry. Weighing the pros and cons and hearing what others have to say is really helpful, then... you make your own choice.
Be responsible for your actions. You take the action, you make the choice, you are accountable for it... own that good or bad. Don't blame others or hide behind some screen. Stand up, take the responsibility, again... good or bad, and then grow from it either way.
Say what you mean... Damn this is a big one... but so simple. Don't talk around stuff. Say how you feel. Own how you feel. Remember, you make the choice for you, so you get to choose what comes out of your mouth. Say what you think. It may piss some people off but at least they know where you stand.
Be kind to others. Treat others with respect. EVERYONE IS DEALING WITH SOMETHING. Remember this... kindness costs you nothing. What if they aren't kind or don't treat you with respect? Well that is their own ignorant choice.The truth of the matter is this... you are not, nor will ever be, better than anyone else. Why? because we are all humans, we are all living this life good, bad or ugly. If you can go to bed every night knowing that you have put kindness into this world and shown respect to others, even to those who may not deserve it, you can rest easy.
Last but not least... Love your family, spend time with them! (Yes, this is a shameless plug from your Mom to get you to hang out with us, but I have my reasons.) Your friends will come and go, and let me tell you this is how it will always be. Your family is stuck with you and if you are good the them they will always stick with you. You never know how much time you have with your older relatives, if you are close to them be sure to cherish that time, they can teach you so much if you take the time to listen. Hug your younger siblings, even if they are annoying, someday they may be all that you have left. Don't roll your eyes at me or Mike, we may also be annoying as hell right now but they love you and are doing their very best to deal with your smart-assed self, trust me someday you will WANT to apologize for being craptastic.
You can do this. I believe in you.