I normally don’t like anyone to know this, but I skipped 8th grade. Meaning that I was just a wee little 13 year old when I entered high school!!! I was laughably naive of course, but I’d like to think I had good intentions and a good head on my shoulders. Naturally, things would’ve run smoother if I knew then what I know now, but I wouldn’t know the things I know now if I knew them then and then there would be different things I know now that I’d have wished to know then….if that makes any sense…lol! Anyways, here’s a list 13 of things that would’ve made life a bit easier:
- You don’t know everything and that’s okay.
It’s okay not to have all the answers! But it’s not okay to cease trying to find them. You don’t need to pretend to have all the answers! Seriously. Please just stop…you’re getting on everybody’s nerves! You have so many more years to learn and you’ll soon realize that the more you learn, the more you’ll find that you don’t know anything at all. Remember: It takes just as much courage to seek the answers as it does to admit that you don’t have them.
2. Only 20% of people care what you have to say, the other 80% are just curious.
This is something you’re going to struggle with for awhile. Nobody owes you anything. They don’t have to listen when you speak. They don’t need to hear about your life. Keep a little mystery about yourself. Don’t misinterpret their polite conversation as an invitation to blab on about your childhood. You’ll find those who care eventually. But don’t give so much of your time and energy to those who don’t.
3. Don’t listen to reply, listen to understand.
Are you listening to what they have to say, or just waiting for your turn to speak? There’s a difference and people can tell. Don’t ask questions just because you want them to hear your answer. Ask questions because you genuinely care about THEM. Ask people about their day, or about the places they’ve been, or their favorite food or season. And don’t rush them when they answer. Sometimes people just need to talk, give them that. Don’t be hurt when they don’t let you get a word in edgewise. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. Just listen. The ability to listen without expecting the favor to be returned is a valuable habit that can help more than your advice.
4. Stop caring about what people think of you.
You think you got this pat down….but I’m sorry to say, darling, that, well, you don’t. All it takes is one adult to tear that down. You’re not perfect and what they say will have an element of truth. But please, please, PLEASE don’t hate yourself because of it! Nothing good ever comes from trying to be someone who others want you to be. Just know that their opinion doesn’t define you and what matters most is that you love and accept yourself. If you do this, their view of you won’t matter so much.
5. People will come and go and that’s okay!
Not everyone you meet is destined to be your next best friend. Don’t guilt trip people into being a part of your life and don’t be afraid to let go of the toxic ones. Where you are right now is such a small corner of the world and the people that you meet are so limited that it’s dangerous to think that where you are and even WHO you are is a permanent reality. The right people will come into your life unexpectedly. Don’t force it though. Just be patient!
6. Loneliness can be something good.
The world will try to tell you that loneliness = emptiness but that’s not true. Everything you’ve read about the magical high school years is ridiculous. Not true at all. Sure, a lot of change will happen…..but you won’t magically get a group of friends that understands and accepts you or a boyfriend that completes you. Actually *spoiler alert * you’ll come close to having a empty version of both and then you’ll lose it. But that’s a story for another day! Just have the courage to face the loneliness and call it out for what it really is: Discontentedness.
7. Everybody has something valuable to teach you.
The people you thought would be there for you will hurt you. The friendships you thought would last a lifetime will fall apart. But here’s what you don’t do: Don’t be bitter. Don’t let failures keep you from trying again. Get up. Face the day with whatever it brings and learn from the things that don’t work out. Let the friends that left teach you what friendship isn’t. Let the people who hurt you teach you how not to treat others. Learn from them. And then move on.
8. Balance, Balance, Balance!
I have a feeling that this is going to be a lifelong struggle, but if you could learn early on that balance is key to success, then half the battle is won. Life is a constant battle between letting go and holding on. Like the tides, you must learn when to give it your all, and when to pull back.
9. Trust your intuition…..
That feeling that tells you that maybe it is a bad idea to ask your guy friend if he has a crush on you? Just listen to it already! Bam! Just saved you a two-year drama fest. I would literally be here all day if I could remember and name every time you’re gonna fail to listen to your intuition. Seriously, just stop being an idiot and listen to it! If what you’re about to do would make a nice episode of a soap opera or a typical YA novel, then run from the situation as fast as you can!
10. You can’t always count on others to be the mature one.
People are going to be selfish and unkind. They’re going to say things that will sting or something they didn’t mean to say aloud. You will too. We’re human. We’re gonna mess up. It’s in our nature. But if you can, and darling, I know its hard, rise above it. Rise above the petty disagreements and the meaningless drama. Your life will be almost stress free if you decide to be the mature one regardless of how those around you act. The teen years will be roller coaster of emotions. But riding every. single. emotion. is optional. [Unless its THAT time of the month. Then you can be a monster. 😉 ]
11. Hard work is the key to success.
You haven’t got a talented bone in your body. I’m sorry, but its true. You suck at memorizing or passing tests. Hell, your balance is so bad that you’d fail a sobriety test sober! You’re not the smartest or prettiest and you’re certainly not the strongest! And you haven’t any natural gifts. Your guitar playing is mediocre and your singing voice is average. BUT….. You’re curious. And innovative. You’re optimistic and determined. You know how to work hard and THAT is what will get you places. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. So don’t be afraid of it and don’t compare yourself to others. Just do your very best. Sometimes it won’t be enough. Actually, you’ll fail a lot. But get up. Work harder than you did yesterday. You will succeed eventually. Don’t give up.
12. Don’t let society tell you who you should or shouldn’t be.
It’s rough being 13. You want to figure this whole ‘being a teenager’ thing out. More than that, you want to figure out who YOU are. Let me tell you who are. You’re beautiful in your own way. You’re confident. You’re creative and intelligent. You give great advice, but a lot of the times fail to follow it. Your eyes light up when you talk about something you love. You love to read and will spend hours thinking about something you read or did a week or a year ago. You love chocolate and sunsets and mint toothpaste. You’re afraid of spiders and what’s in the dark. But you love to gaze up at the stars. You’re hard working and brilliant. You tell yourself jokes to lift your mood and are loyal to a fault. You’d do anything to protect your family. You’re unemotional and logical and kinda a perfectionist. Your favorite author is Madeleine L’Engle and you’re a huge history buff. I could go on for hours but what I’m really trying to say is this: You are Kaitlyn Cruz. And that’s always going to be enough.
13. Everything happens for a reason.
Life is hard and everything that it throws at you won’t make sense. You’re gonna ask “Why me?” a LOT. But if I could travel back in time and tell you just 1 of these 13 bits of advice… I would choose this one because it’s the one you need to hear the most. Everything happens for a reason. Every storm, Every friendship, every heart break, every scar, every mistake, every triumph….Every moment matters. It’s infinitely important. You’ll see. It will all make sense someday. I promise you that. And while most days it won’t seem fair…well, what is fair? God won’t give you what you want. He’s not some fairy godmother. But he will give you everything you need to make you into someone that could change everything if you put your mind to it. It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to be scared. Growing up is a scary thing. But know that even your mistakes serve a purpose.
P.S. (Oh and one more thing, Your head will soon stop looking so awkwardly small and your body will stop feeling so weird. You’ll grow into both. Just thought you’d want to know. Also…ditch the rectangle glasses…you look ridiculous)