Thursday, October 11, 2012

To my 15 year old self

Today is International Day of the Girl -- a date on the annual calendar set aside to advocate for girls' rights and raise issues of gender bias. 

CNN did a great article today where they asked many different influential women the question
"Looking back, what one piece of advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?" 

Here is the article:

I really loved the article, I thought some of the answers given were really great.

It made me think about my own life and how I would answer that question.

When I was 15 I was a shy, gangly girl. Super tall, super uncoordinated, I loved to read and I had a best friend named Lisa and we were joined at the hip. When we were 15 we could take drivers Ed and I remember learning to drive being a big deal that year. My best friend got her license before I did and I remember the first time her parents let her pick me up and drive around. They let her drive this GIGANTIC blue boat of a vehicle, seriously, it was huge. I still distinctly remember the smell of the inside of that car, not unpleasant, just a bit dusty and old, and I remember how much fun we had driving around, feeling so grown up. That is probably my favorite memory of being 15.

But being 15 is hard. It was hard when I was a kid and I think it's harder in the world we live in today. I was kind of insulated in a small religious community when I was a kid. Life isn't so much like that anymore. Even at 12 I think Josh faces more things than I did at 15. It's hard to send your kids out into the world.

I remember being 15 and fighting with my parents, who were SO old (approximately the age I am now, lol) and didn't understand me. As a parent I realize that parents understand a lot better than kids think we do.

I remember being boy crazy and wishing I was cool enough to have a boyfriend. My parents wouldn't let me date until I was 16, not that boys were exactly knocking down my door at 15. I've always gotten along really well with guys and I had lots of crushes when I was 15 but I was every guy's buddy. I had lots of guy friends at 15. None of them were waiting for me to turn 16 so they could date me. Although I had my first real kiss and my first real boyfriend right around my 17th birthday, so I guess my time was coming.

If I could go back and give my 15 year old advice, it would be this:

Hold on to your friends, because good friends are what will get you through the awkward years.

Cut out the boy craziness, you will have a boyfriend soon enough and it will take you on a emotional roller coaster that you won't be ready for. Enjoy innocence while it lasts because once it's gone you can never get it back.

Listen to your parents, they aren't as out of touch as you think they are.

Don't jump ahead in that algebra class and skip to the higher level class just because your friend is taking it. You'll get behind in math and never catch up.

Spent more time with your dad. He'll be gone in five short years.

Worry less about what others think of you and learn to love yourself more. Embrace your quirkiness.

If you ever have one moment of thinking you look fat, slap yourself right upside the head, courtesy of your 37 year old self. Enjoy that flat stomach while it lasts, little missy.

Dream big and follow your dreams. I wish I had realized at 15 how much of life was before me, just waiting to be lived to the fullest. I didn't have a lot of regrets at 15, but at 37 I have several.

In May I will officially be the parent of a teenager. As I watch my kids grow up I just want to grab them and tell them every last bit if wisdom that I have learned in the past 37 years of life and keep them from making every mistake in life. I know that's not possible though. I do give my kids life advice. Probably too frequently, if you ask them. But I remember being a kid and listening to my parents advice through a filter. Some of it got in, but there were a lot of things I still had to learn the hard way.

And probably even if I could go back and give my 15 year old advice I wouldn't necessarily have followed all of it. I had life all figured at 15. Doesn't everyone? I was in my early 20's before I realized that I still had a lot to learn. Oh, the advice I could give my early 20's self...

But that is a post for another day. :)

1 comment:

Beckest of the BECKS said...

I hope you don't mind, but I really want to blog about my 15 year old me.