Birthday Post: 10 Things I Learnt in My Teens

Birthday Girl As of this moment, I am officially no longer a teen (according to Hong Kong time). The last few years have gone by in such a blur (some memories are so blurry while other are painfully clear. Luckily the rest is somewhere in between)

I thought that this post would be the perfect way to end my teens and sum up the most important lessons I’ve learnt. Here are my 10 things:

  1. Always greet and thank people properly. Greet people with a smile and make eye contact. I’ve been taught to say Mr/Ms. [last name] unless told otherwise. Also, be specific when thanking someone. It lets them know that you are really grateful and aware of what they did for you. If the situation doesn’t call for being specific, at least try to make eye contact.
    Example 1: “Thank you for the ride home aunt Laura and uncle Jim!” not just “Thanks, bye.”
    Example 2: Look at driver or security guard and say “thank you!” or “hello”. Don’t just dash off.
  2. You have the power to choose who makes up your family. Some people in your life will come and go, but the people who are there with you and also there for you at the end of the day are your family.
  3. It gets better… and worse… then repeats. Realistically, life is full of ups and downs. Life will give you good times and bad times.
  4. Listen to your heart, brain and guts. I don’t know how to explain the distinctions between these 3. I suppose instincts from the heart are more emotional, the brain more rational, and the gut more… raw and heavy feeling? The battle between the heart and the brain can be intense, so people forget to listen to their gut instinct. Always check in with all 3 and trust yourself. Gut instinct… always 3rd wheeling.
  5. Some kids are mean. Some teens are mean. Some adults are mean. Some of them aren’t mean at all, some of them aren’t mean as adults, some become meaner the older they get. “High school” never really ends, you just move to a bigger pool with more fishes (which means that there are more fishes to meet and become friends with)!
  6. There will always be people who hurt you, anger you etc. It’s up to you to decide what to do with them. Regardless of your choices, be grateful for their existence and presence in your life. It’s because of them that you learnt something (no matter how small or insignificant that ‘something’ is). Be grateful (you don’t have to like them), walk away being the better person, the one who benefited from the experience.
  7. Hold doors open for others and put your dishes in the sink. It’s polite to hold doors open for the people/person behind you. It’s never nice to be the person behind the person who decides to let the door close on you. Also unless told otherwise, at other people’s houses always offer to take your dishes to the sink or help clear the table. Remember to put water in the in bowl/cup/plate so the food/drink doesn’t dry and make things difficult for the person washing it.
  8. Let it go (for now).  Sometimes, you just have to let it go, put it away. Forgive, and (maybe don’t) forget. Leave whatever happened in the past (… possibly just for now). It’s healthier to learn but not dwell on things from the past. Make your own judgements.
  9. Things aren’t always as they seem. People aren’t as put together and organized as they seem. Families aren’t as perfect as they seem. That person standing there in a huge crowd might not feel like he/she fit in. We only see snapshots of people’s lives. You never know until you see behind the scenes and the whole picture.
  10. Grow older gracefully. I know this sounds like it something said to older people, but this should be said to younger people too. There are so many things adults can do, and there are also so many things that you can only really get away with as a kid or generally the younger you are. Getting older is inevitable, so make the most of being your age. Be the person you are gracefully, even if it means being your awkward self! 🙂

That’s the end of my list as I now say goodbye to being a teen. I want to thank everyone who has been there for me and been a part of my life so far (both the good times and the not-so-good ones. You all know who you are).

Thanks for reading this really long post (hopefully I didn’t bore you too much) and have a lovely week. Let me know in the comments if you learnt anything in your teens that really stuck with you or that you wish you knew!

P.S. Some points were only briefly covered because I have plans to write longer posts on some subjects so be sure to check back in the future!

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