I Am A Teenager. Here's What I Worry About.
When people think of teenagers and what they worry about, the clichés are laid on thick.
But one cliché rings true for most of us, and that's that being a teen is an emotional roller coaster -- the highs are pretty high and the lows can be pretty awful.
But here are some worries I believe most teenagers have that adults don’t really consider.
The feeling of becoming older and not achieving anything yet.
The saying ‘It’s never too late to start’ is soaked into the corner of every teen brain, like some ugly floral wallpaper in what could potentially be a trophy room.
Teenagers are at that perfect age where they’re able to take part in just about everything, from surfing to Spanish lessons. But the majority of us are just not harnessing our talents, and we’re letting a world of possibilities slip away.
Maybe we’re too busy studying, or being with friends, or locking ourselves in our room struggling with the world around us. It’s a sense of running out of time before childhood finishes for good.
As we get closer to 18 and being an adult, many of us fear leaving our childhood feeling unaccomplished. We dwell on our potential helplessness in the future, as maybe we haven’t applied for that crucial work experience with the local real estate.
Teens spend too much time worrying about not achieving, and this worry stops a lot of us from achieving much at all. Maybe there is still time to perfect Spanish and surf like a pro. Anything is better than peaking early!
Balancing a social life with everything else
This may seem like a pretty average worry but it sits in my head most days, just collecting dust. As a teen, the idea of a world where your social life and academics can thrive together sounds impossible. I just can’t wrap my head around the concept. Can you really have both?
I’m worried that while I’d like to always be popular and be in the minds and hearts of my friends, I also want to focus on good grades. But here’s the ultimate concern -- if you focus on being the life of the party, does it mean you screw up your chances for the future?
Or is it more important to focus on school work and just accept that, in the future, you’ll look back and wish you’d had more fun when you were younger?
Adults keep telling us that, once you’re out in the real world it’s not simply your grades that lead the way, it’s the people you know. There must be a place to meet in the middle, where you can still have fun, still study enough to do well.
The search for acceptance
Most teens pretend they don’t care what people think of them, but the opposite is true. It’s something that rarely leaves my mind and I know it’s the same for my friends. We’re always looking for approval, from family, teachers, friends and everyone around us. It feels like every step we take is about hustling for the almighty approval, where every single step we take is pre-calculated.
Will this get her attention? Will it be worth it tomorrow? How can I get him to like me without having to do that? These questions flood the minds of teens daily.
Most social dilemmas end up in two possible outcomes: one, not sneaking out of the house to go to that party, but then on Monday at school being labelled as that one kid who didn’t go. Or, two, going to the party, leaving the window wide open and then being ordered into lock-down in your room for the next few weekends by your mum.
Not being that kid who stayed home all day
In the endless quest to balance social life to school work, you don’t want to turn up to school on Monday and have everyone talk at length about everything they did on the weekend when your response is ‘stayed in my bed all day’.
Weekends with nothing on seem like a blessing to most adults, no soccer pick up, no food shopping, and no laundry. However, to a teen, the idea of not doing anything on the weekend literally rings bells that you didn’t go to that party, or that concert or even do that history assignment. Two different generations interpret a free weekend very differently.
Something we don’t worry about
Teens just don’t worry about how many followers they have on social media. Although, when you click on someone’s profile on Instagram, the first thing you see is their followers, we have overcome the stigma around the idea that the more followers you have, the more popular you are.
Adults are worrying more about our followers than we even do, as there’s a perception created in the media that the only thing teens have on their mind is the amount of followers they have. Believe me, these days teens only use social media to stay in touch with friends. The adults can carry on with that worry, we don’t need it anymore!