Teen Blog: Lessons Learned, and the Ones Yet to Come

Teen columnist, Ryane, reflects on life as an adult-to-be.

by SHFamily | Wed, February 28, 2018

As the end of my senior year – and ergo my time in Shanghai – draws nearer, I’ve started to look back on the last four years with the eyes of an adult-to-be. I think about the friends I’ve made, continue to make, the friends I’ve lost, and the people I no longer talk to. I think a lot about the girl I was in ninth grade. Awkward. Suspicious of the world around her and everyone in it, ready to fight any and all to make her voice heard.

Teenage Fun

I’ve grown a lot – two centimeters and four years of wisdom. I’ve changed from being a kid reluctant to do what she must into a young adult that finds away to love what she needs to accomplish. That said, the ways I’ve grown most are not conventionally tangible, but are notions of how I want to live my life.

I’ve learned that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is not juvenile, as I used to believe, but a strength one can arm oneself with. That there isn’t maturity in being jaded, hyper realistic, and coldly pragmatic, but probably a quarter-life crisis that sets in at 20. No matter how frustrating the things around me are, there’ll always be something small that picks me up if I focus enough to pay it attention.

Happy Teen

I’ve learned that I’m not in control of my life. Where I used to try to micromanage every detail of my path, it’s taken 40-some months of planning to discover that I have to leave it to someone else. Be it fate, God, time, or my mother.

I’ve learned to take things lightly. My cousin (who is 13 years older and smarter than I am) sent me a song in freshman year called Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself, and I really only internalized that message this May. Sometimes a bad day is just as simple as that; and I’ll wake up to something else in the morning.

The Road

I still have a lot to learn. Arabic, plant sex, cuneiform, and the Ottoman Empire. I still have 236 pages of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, 42 books of the Bible, and five months of senior year. After that I have a whole life. And it’s weird to think back on the person I was coming into high school, into this column, and find out that I’m not the same. I sometimes hardly recognize myself when people tell me about the things I did or said four years ago.

I guess that’s a part of growing up. And four years from now, I’ll read this very column and discover I’ve changed again. To you, 22-year-old Ryane, I hope you remember what being 18 feels like, and if you’ve just about forgotten, well . . .

I hope this reminds you.