Turning 20: Things I Won’t Miss About Being a Teenager
Aisha is about to leave her teens so tells us what she’s most excited about on her quest..
I remember turning 13 and thinking, “YES. This is the start of the rest of my life”
As I sit and contemplate the outfit I will wear to Beyoncé’s Cardiff concert tomorrow, in celebration of my 20th birthday, I reflect on how much I have changed since becoming an almost adult and in some ways, I’m still very much the same…
I remember turning 13 and thinking, ‘YES. this is the start of the rest of my life’.
No… no it wasn’t…
I thought an automatic switch would flick on inside me and I would suddenly be happy and know the answer to EVERYTHING.
But that’s not how it works.
The journey between thirteen and nineteen is difficult. You’re changing so much, not just in the physical ways. But (for me) my whole being was realigning and trying to understand the seed’s of who I was becoming. Which is tricky when you want to fit in and feel part of something, even if that ‘something’ is an un-comfortable category, like groups of peer’s at school or getting into academic set’s or just trying to be ‘good’ at everything, at college and in life generally.
I am VERY happy to have left all that nonsense behind. So here is a list of things that, as a teenager, I wont miss and a few tips for those still trouping through. I salute you. As well as that, I thought it would be nice to mention some things that I have enjoyed since becoming a young adult.
1. Non-School Uniform Day
Did anybody else experience waking up in cold sweat at the thought of non-school uniform day? And the prospect of being judged for not having decent trainers…I did
Answer: Wear Crocs.
Joking. On a serious note, remember that most people are thinking about themselves and what they’re wearing. So even if you do get the one judgemental eye dart, don’t worry about it. Because they’ve been having those cold sweat nights too, otherwise they wouldn’t be so quick to check out your footwear…
2. Finishing Your Essay On The Day Of Deadline
Leaving your essay deadlines till the last minute, thinking over night you’ll overcome your hatred of writing about dramatic irony in ‘King Lear’ and be able to write an A* essay…
Answer: Just do a solid 40 minutes twice a day, every day three weeks before the deadline then, trust me on this, half way through the final week you’ll start to feel like you can actually do ok in your English A level. I went from a U to an A in my English literature and language course, so here’s someone speaking from experience.
Doing something towards what you’re scared of doing or resisting to do is a great way of being positive and productive, it makes you feel good because you’re facing a fear and the work flows so much easier.
3. Pocket Money Being Your Only Source of income
I remember feeling trapped.`
At a time when I was too young to baby sit, I would sit and count the coppers in my piggy bank, trying to scrape a mere 20p to be able to go and buy a bag of Haribo from the corner shop, to dull the financial pain.
Answer: Getting friendly with your neighbours and asking different people for help is a friendly, social way to get the moneys. I got really close to some of my neighbours on my road and they have been a great support to me in many ways over the years.
When I got into the National Youth Theatre, I needed to raise money to go on the course, so I wrote letters to all of my neighbours and my parent’s friends asking them if there was anything I could do for them and get paid for it, even if it was small amount. In response, people contacted me about loads of different little jobs that I continued with, even after the course was over.
4. Getting Punched In The Arm After Having An Injection
This needs no further explanation.
Answer: After getting your vaccination with the rest of your class and turning the corner to get punched in the arm by a Neanderthal (Year 10 kid) is never the best way to spend an afternoon. So bring bubble wrap to school that day and cover your arm in it immediately after your injection. Problem solved. You’re welcome.
5. Getting Changed In The Changing Rooms When You Haven’t Shaved Your Legs
Answer: The stigma over girl’s body hair in my school was phenomenal. Any sort of sign of stubble was enough to send changing rooms into eruptions of horror.
Kids in Year 9 were the worst, so you just have to remember to breathe and not to worry about it. No one will even remember in ten years time and more importantly, you won’t care.
Okay… so, now to the things that have been great about being an independent young person…
1. Learning How To Use The Washing Machine
The joy and independence I have gained from learning how to use my washing machine properly is incredible, I feel like a new woman. Knowing that I can actually take laundry and understand which buttons to press and how long the cycle will take before the bundle is ready to be put out to dry makes me smile just to write.
2. Hanging Out By Myself
Enjoying my own company and doing things by myself is so much fun. Taking myself on little day trips or out to cafes or to the cinema makes me feel really good about myself and it also means you don’t have compromise or think about want anybody else wants to do, because your on your ones.
3. Getting A Job And Having My Own Money
Getting a proper job (no longer needing Haribo to get me through) I can save up for things that I want and actually get them. I’m free to do whatever I want with my money and it’s a really empowering feeling learning to financially support yourself and be responsible for what you choose to splash on.
4. Being Comfortable With The Uncomfortable
Learning that I’m not going to know the answers to everything, and being comfortable with not knowing has helped me relax so much. Its like a massive weight of my shoulders, realising that the ‘right’ decision will come to me but really there is no right or wrong decision, so I’m free to go with whatever feels right in that moment.
Phewwww glad I got all that off my chest, feeling ready to take on some adulthood right about now, on my journey and on my way. See you when I’m 20.
Have you got any stories to tell about being a teenager? Or any tips that you wish you had been told growing up? We want to know. Let us know @rifemag
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