That’s right. You see the pattern coming. Last blog post was Ten Things I Would Tell My 10-year-old Self, and now I’m hitting the 15-year-old. I may or may not do the twenty for 20. The older I get, the scarier (read: more revealing) these lists become.
The background on my 15-year-old self is a bit more complex than the 10-year-old self. In a mere five years, I went from pretending I was Laura Ingalls to pretending I was 21 years old. It’s true. You parents of 15-year-olds, consider yourselves warned.
My family was vacationing in Bermuda and while it’s a beautiful paradise, there’s not much a 15-year-old wants to do other than drive her personal moped around the island, lay out in the sun, and look for hot guys. The only problem was that there were no hot teenage guys. However, there was a cute, older guy. I was more developed than many girls my age so I often passed for older than my 15 years. People also told me I was more emotionally mature. I say that so you will know that Bermuda Guy was not a child molester; he was duped. When I saw him drinking beer, I figured he had to be around 21. So I “became” 21.
My brothers were of legal drinking age in Bermuda so while Mom and Dad were exploring the island, my brothers would hand me a barley pop of my own, making the lie work all the better. It was when I returned home and Bermuda Guy wanted to send me flowers at “my college” that my little plan hit a speed bump. Instead of coming clean the lie grew – as most do. So I told him, “Actually, I’m not 21. I’m 18. I live at home with my parents still. I go to the community college. I was just embarrassed to tell you that. But if you want to send those flowers to me, I would love to get them… at my parent’s address.”
I know, I know. I was sick. Don’t worry, I’ve discussed this all in therapy. The truth is (really!) for that week, I felt like a real grown-up. Whether it was the beer or the older guy who, much to my disgust, I discovered was actually 30-years-old, I thought I had arrived into adulthood.
But as you and I both know, a 15-year-old is hardly an adult. I hadn’t even taken driver’s ed, for goodness’ sake! So, again in no particular order and knowing what I know now, here’s what I would say to that 15-year-old girl (after I finished slapping her for kissing a man twice her age).
1. No matter how clueless you think your parents are now, one day you will be friends with them so treat them with respect.
2. Drinking does not make you cool. In fact, most of the time you will look like an idiot.
3. Choose your friends wisely. Be a loyal friend and you will be rewarded with your friend’s loyalty. And as a sidenote: never steal another girl’s boyfriend.
4. Sex does not equal love.
5. Along with number 4, respect yourself, and the God who made your body, enough to say NO!
6. You CAN be happy even if you don’t wear everything Ralph Lauren.
7. Say thank you to your parents more often.
8. When you fail, that does NOT mean you are a failure. Try to find the lesson in it and a solution, if there is one.
9. Most 15-year-old boys are stupid. That’s okay; they won’t always be that way. Well, at least some of them won’t be.
10. Try not to be tossed around by your moods. Your feelings are just that… feelings, not necessarily fact.
11. Continue to try new things – except for drugs. Find things you can become passionate about… and I’m not talking about boys either.
12. Everyone looks hideous in those gym-issued swimsuits.
13. Most teenagers are thinking about themselves way more than they are thinking about you, so don’t stress about your hair, your freckles or whether or not your pink Izod sweater goes with your kelly green wide-wale cords and navy blue duck shoes.
14. When someone tells you about God’s unconditional love, cling to that as if it’s the best news you will ever receive – because it is.
15. People will always let you down, but the Lover of Your Soul never will.