The 10 Things You'll Learn by the Time You're a Teen | Teen Ink

The 10 Things You'll Learn by the Time You're a Teen

July 28, 2014
By listeningtostars GOLD, Kirkland, Washington
listeningtostars GOLD, Kirkland, Washington
11 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"You know one me. Just like I know one you. But you can't know every me. And I can't know every you." -David Levithan

1. "Smart" is not really a thing.

You’ll learn this around the fourth grade, when you start to realize that even though you finish the mental math packets faster than the girl who sits across from you, that same girl can say the alphabet backwards and tell you how microwaves work. Later on, when you get a B in an English assignment because you didn’t stick to the assigned task, but the girl with poor sentence structure and a shoddy plot line gets an A, you’ll realize that letters are a very idiotic way of determining someone’s worth.

2. Brush things off.

You’ll almost undoubtedly learn this on a playground with creaking swings, when a boy throws a ball soaked with rainwater at you and calls you a mean name. You’ll carry this burden around with you for days, letting it paint your days blue, until one day you see that same boy laughing with his friends at lunch. That’s when you’ll learn that people say lots of things without thinking, and if you bottle every single word up, you are not hurting anybody except yourself.

3. Words are sharp, and deadly.

You will learn this two times: first, when you get stabbed with a word aimed right in a soft, unprotected place and it hurts more than any actual knife ever could. The second time is when you’re the one brandishing the tongue, jabbing someone right where you know it will kill, and watching their self esteem trickle through their fingers, like blood gushing from a wound. Both times, you will later think about what happened with repulsion and wonder how in the world simple sound waves could have such astonishing power.

4. Even if you love someone and they love you, you will still get mad at each other.

You learn this early, when you’re puzzling over why your mom punished you with tears in her eyes and a quivering hand. You’ll learn again later on, when you scream at your mom for making you come home early or not letting you go to that boy’s house, and when you listen to her complaining to your dad, the next day you hug her good morning and let her kiss you on the cheek before you go to school. Then you’ll learn again, when you and your best friend get into a huge fight and still giggle over nothing at all the next day at lunch.

5. People come, and people go. Plans change and unexpected things happen.

This one will be learnt in late high school, when you look back and realize that where you are now is completely different from where you thought you’d be ten years ago. You’ll smile fondly at the memory of five-year-old you holding hands with your kindergarten best friend and vowing that you would be friends for the rest of your life. You’ll wonder where that same girl is today. You’ll laugh at the fifth grade you who wanted to be a famous singer, because now you’ve realized that you’re completely tone deaf. You’ll sigh at the sweet memories of blissful middle school when you were still friends with that one person who would later stab you in the back. You plan for the future, but in the back of your mind, you know that your plans will probably crumble to well-meaning dust. You let it happen.

6. No one can be described with one word. people are complex and difficult to understand. This is what makes them beautiful

This will be a guilty epiphany that happens shortly after you realize that the girl who you insulted mercilessly because she was mean to you once had a broken family and a messed up home life. This will be a morose pondering that happens when you look at complex wars in Syria and Russia and Ukraine and that is when you will realize that unlike books and movies, life is not black and white, but multiple shades of murky gray where no one is the bad guy or the good guy and things have a million and one perspectives that all give different outcomes.

7. The only person that really matters is you.

There will be a point where you are unhappy, and you cannot figure out why. You’ll backtrack, and realize that somewhere along the lines, you started doing things you didn’t like doing because other people told you to. You’ll quit whatever stupid team you were on because you used to cry in the bathroom stall before you could muster up the courage to go in. You’ll start eating pizza again, because you’re tired of trying to be skinny just because that’s what everyone else is trying to be. You’ll break off toxic relationships that made you hate yourself, and you’ll start doing the things that make you happy, because what’s the point of living if it’s not the life that you want?

8.Sometimes life sucks.

This is one of the hardest lessons that you’ll have to learn. It might hit you heavily, perhaps when you see a murderer on the news, but most of the times it sneaks up on you and taps you on the shoulder softly at night, in the shape of hot salty tears you cry underneath your thick blankets for friends that aren’t friends anymore, futures that are hazy, people that have passed away, or simple self doubt. Sometimes, you will crave the sweet release of sleep so that you can just Not Think, because sometimes simply living will seem like the hardest part of your day. But you will get through it, because you have to get through it, and because you know something else:

9. Sometimes life is the best thing ever.

This is very, very fun to learn. This is learnt when you’re a toddler, and you take your first messy bite of cake and lick sugar sweet frosting off your fingers. It’s learnt in elementary school when you read picture books in class and scribble in coloring books and make best friends in a matter of minutes. It’s learnt in middle school, when you stay up all night with your closest friends in a blanket fort you made yourself, and laugh until your sides ache about absolutely nothing. It’s learnt in high school, when you finally get your license and drive all day with your best friends just because you can, and you go to Taco Bell at least three times and roll down the windows and scream with mouths wide and teeth showing. It’s learnt in the tiny moments you share with the ones you love, the moments you know you’ll remember forever and ever, like when you slipped and fell into a bush at Six Flags or drank bubble tea for the first time and had a contest to see who could spit their tapioca ball the farthest.

10. Mistakes are what make us grow

This is something you realize when you make a list of all the things that you’ve learnt. Because even though you’ve tripped and fell on your face while climbing the treacherous mountain of life, you’ve gotten up and dusted yourself off every single time. And even though you’re sure that you’ll trip and fall countless more times, your past has taught you–taught me–that the future is manageable. Always.

The author's comments:
I have compiled a list of the ten most important things that you will undoubtedly learn somewhere along the timeline of your teenage life. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe remember a lesson that you forgot.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.