As somebody practiced in the art of big sisterhood, here’s some advice that I’d like to pass on as an honorary big sister. Everybody needs somebody to turn to. Here’s some things I’ve learned during the course of my 20 summers.
- Start a club/group, and stick to it.
All the happiest people I know have learned a skill and learned to socialise by joining some sort of club. Dance, drama, hockey, book club, music club, chess; any kind of thing that makes you happy. You’ll never be alone, and you’ll have something to channel your energy into.
Stick to it too. Not only will you make a close-knit group of friends, but you will gain experience and real talent in some kind of niche that is always useful later in life. Learn to socialise with as many people as you can.
It will serve you later on, in ways you can’t yet imagine.
- If it won’t matter in 5 months, it doesn’t matter now.
Go out and do all the things because the only regret you will have from youth is being stuck in your head and letting opportunities pass you by. Every mistake or cringey memory is a story to laugh about at the pub with your mates one day.
Authenticity is more of a valuable thing as you get older and you’ve figured out who you are.
- Nobody gives a shit
You can look at this one of two ways, although the latter is better.
Boohoo, nobody gives a shit; or
Wow! Nobody gives a shit!
Even if you’re the weird kid in class, even if people don’t get you- at the end of the day; nobody really gives a shit.
Everybody is immersed in their own world. You take up about 1% of somebody else’s life unless you’re really close. You’re just a word in their mouth.
Isn’t that amazing?
So really, you’re in the driver’s seat. You get to choose what is important to you.
Do you really want to put all the importance you have on what other people think of you?
Do you want to put the importance on people who can’t see how funny you are behind closed doors? Or how kind you are at heart?
People who wouldn’t even see it if it slapped them in the face?
Or would it be a better decision to prioritise being unashamedly you, finding something worthwhile to do with your time, and attracting the type of people who you can form beautiful and lasting friendships with?
I know what I was better off doing.
Be you, and people will come.
- Get a job the moment you can find one.
13 years old, 15 years old, 17 years old. Sweeping hair off the floor of a hairdressers, serving fancy dinners, pulling pints in pubs. The second you manage to get hired by a job, work it.
It will teach you so much.
The experience you gain in all these fields of work will teach you so much. You’ll learn so much about people, you’ll learn understanding and kindness, you’ll collect some absolutely insane stories and you will meet some friends that you will keep for life. You’ll develop willpower, that’s for sure.
You’ll learn to always look on the bright side, and you’ll learn when it’s time to move on to the next job.
You’ll learn how to walk away from things when they no longer serve you.
Also, you’ll be earning a paycheck.
- Save as much as you can from as early as you can.
Money is so powerful in this world, and while you have no expenditures, this is your time.
That fashionable item of clothing that everyone has is going to look cringey and trashy in a matter of months and you will laugh about hopping on the trendy train.
Skip it out, be the edgy one in the class who looks cool and unique because they shop in charity shops and effortlessly owns their own style, and save your pennies.
About 80% of your paycheck, I’d say.
You got no bills, but I tell you what, you will have a whole load less bills and a whole load more freedom later on when you can invest in your own house, or travel, or be in a position to not have to depend on anyone.
Clever investment will set you up for life.
- Literally always be doing something.
Mental health is a major priority, and these are the years that the cracks in your mental health will begin to form. Either from doing too much, or not doing enough; but generally, because ‘finding yourself’ is something that doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
Whenever you feel a bit down, it’s because you’ve been doing things without considering whether they make you happy.
Self care is all about doing things that make you happy, however that may look.
It’s not about following the crowd, doing what people expect you to do, putting on a front. It’s about picking up hobbies that make you happy and fill your time while you’re on your own. It’s about having a balance between socialising/ knowing when you need to be alone.
By trying loads of weird hobbies, ‘finding yourself’ will come much more naturally; and you’ll have somewhere to put all of your energy as opposed to having it eat away at your mental health. It’s a very common thing to not actually know who you are because you’ve been so immersed in your social life.
Though it may seem appealing at this age to be angsty and mysterious and generally mopey/glum, refer back to point number 2. You are more attractive to people when you are enjoying life and making your own fun. You’re a cool person to be around, right? Showcase that.
Do it for yourself.
- ‘Love interests’ come and go, let them
Your aim here, is to be the most interesting and fulfilled person all by yourself so that you will never ever be reliant on another person to complete you. Relying on people like that, my dear, is self-destructive, and a bit selfish.
You are the only person that you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. That’s not a cold hearted approach, that’s not sad, nor does it mean that you’ll never find love. It’s just a plain and simple fact. Make yourself unshakably happy, and people who are a good fit for your life will join it as a bonus- not a lifeline.
Pretty people are literally just human beings exactly the same as you are.
You’ll laugh about how all your weird crushes impacted you one day. You’re either pining over someone, or running from someone, or swept up with someone; and its just a phase. Don’t take it so seriously, you’re just learning.
On a side note; you don’t have to be anybody but you, so please don’t pressure yourself into being somebody that you’re uncomfortable with because you think you’ll be happy if you match up to this picture you have in your head. Or just because you think someone would like you better if you were different.
Happiness doesn’t work like that. Talk like you, act like you, be you. Even if you don’t know who you are, just give it your best guess. If people don’t like it, they were never meant for you. Even if you ‘won’ and got the relationship you’re so desperately pining over, you’d soon realise that it’s boring to live like that. Keeping up an act and walking on eggshells. Doesn’t matter how wonderful their cheekbones are.
Be safe and love yourself so much that you realise boys/girls/whoever are just a cool addition to your life as opposed to the ruling force of it.
Don’t take any shit, beloved.
People may be temporary, but you and your passion for life is forever.
- Last one
Never let anybody make you feel bad for doing what makes you happy. It’s better to be happy than it is to ‘look cool’. Stay pure n smiley for as long as you can.