I just turned sixteen, and I’ve learned a few things in these years. Sixteen lessons, actually. One for each year. So here I go, spouting off wisdom like I have some idea what the fuck is going on. Sorry. Here I go! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! *tumbles down playground slide while onlooking parents judge me*
- You can affect situations, not control them. When an event doesn’t go as well as planned, I end up blaming myself because I didn’t control the outcome. Unfortunately, this is a dead-end, because I can’t control the outcome of every situation. I can do my best to positively affect it, but I can’t control the outcome. With that said, you should do all you can to positively affect projects in your life, if it’s something you want success for. However, you simply cannot control everything. You must let go.
- Everything is grey area. Nothing is black and white. Our brains like the simpler stories, however, so we design narratives to have good and bad to make us feel better about the complexity we’re ignoring. People are not one thing or another. People are not good or bad. People aren’t extroverts or introverts. People aren’t intelligent or stupid. Our universe is really complicated, and we at least owe it the courtesy of our attention. Pay attention to the complexity.
- The quality of your social media feed is determined by the kind of accounts you follow. I know this seems obvious, but this seems really important to say right now. I d0n’t know why. But, like, when you say that you don’t like Twitter because you don’t like your feed, that means you need to go follow people that are like you. There is a entertaining Twitter out there for everyone if you look. I highly recommend following Maureen Johnson if you like strings of tweets that make you laugh in inappropriate times. This was a tone shift…
- There comes a point when pretension is unneeded. I have toed this line (actually I’ve ignored it on multiple occasions), and eventually it just alienates people when you use words not in their vocabulary. Just because you know words like contronym and semordnilap does not mean they need to be used in normal conversation, Grace. Gah. I’m such a grapefruit.
- A contronym is a word that can have opposite meanings in different contexts, (i.e. when you turn a light off, it means it was deactivated, but when you set off a bomb, the bomb was activated) and a semordinilap is when a word can spell a different word when it is spelled backward (i.e. desserts, stressed, or semordinilap and palindromes).
- Do not hold people to how they acted when they were young. I went to a Catholic school in another town from kindergarten to sixth grade, and there were eight kids in my class when we graduated sixth grade. Three girls, five boys. Having grown up with these kids, we were all really close. I loved all of them like siblings. Our class didn’t have cliques, either. We all played basketball and kickball together at recess everyday. Then, they went to the middle school in their town, and I went to the middle school in my town. Out of the other seven, I am still friends with one of them four years later. I felt abandoned by all of my other friends that ignored me when I tried to stay in touch with them, and I’m still working on being at peace without them in my life. All seven of the other kids in my class were instrumental in my childhood and development as a person, and when I accidentally run into them in Walmart now, they don’t recognize me. I miss them, but I can’t be mad at them forever because they chose to move on from St. Lawrence. I don’t think they realized they were hurting me; they were twelve. They just did what they could to move on. I can’t fault them for that.
- Drink water. Stay hydrated.
- Be a nice person. You never know when you might need people, and you’re more likely to be able to manipulate the people with which you are already in good graces. Just kidding, though manipulation is a perk. Actually be a kind person; it could put someone around you in a better mood, which could make another person happy, then another person happy… you get the point.
- Don’t eat the yellow snow.
- Remember birthdays. Put them on your personal calendar. It’s not hard, but remembering someone’s birthday on time comes across as very conscientious and caring.
- It’s okay to let your mind wander. I find it almost impossible to focus on tasks at the end of the day because my mind jumps without warning to different events that occurred and attempts to process them. Then, I get mad at myself for allowing the wandering. Eventually, I find it much more helpful to let my mind go at the end of the day so it can tie up all the loose ends before it has to deal with tomorrow.
- You don’t have to yell at the drive-thru worker for them to hear you. You just end up seeming like one of those old ladies who can’t hear themselves, even though you’re sixteen. (Learned this one irl.)
- When a swimsuit is reversible, it does not mean you can wear it backwards. It means you can wear it inside out, four-year-old-embarrassed-Grace. (Another irl experience. I’m not proud.)
- Read books. Books are one of the best ways we have to experience situations outside of our own. Experiencing life through a different perspective is how you gain more empathy for other people, broaden your thoughts, and learn about everything. There are as many different types of books as there are different types of people, so you do not have to confine yourself to literary classics if you happen to find boring. Read books about sports, read books about fantasy, read books about literally anything. Hah. Literally. I’m so punny.
- Make people laugh in anyway you can. Laughing is good.
- Give yourself a break. Because you’re always learning, Older You will always be wiser than Current You. Unfortunately, Current You can’t know any better. And so it goes.