I cannot say that I know what I am about to say is true; I do not have the infinite wisdom of an elder or academician or sage of any sort. However, I believe that the teenage years of life are the most essential years for development in humans. Often times, the teenage years are underestimated; the years being blown off as vacuous and meaningless. If there is anything that I have learned in the past five years of my life, it’s that my teenage years have shaped who I am, and what type of adult I will become.
Many adolescent situations I bring upon myself. I work extremely hard in school yet manage to find myself running from the suburban police force on the weekends. This is important in building my character because I learn from my mistakes and try not to get involved with people or situations that can get me in deep trouble. It’s important to make these mistakes and learn from them as a young adult, because the repercussions are much more serious as a grown person. I’ve also learned that balancing play time and work time is necessary, because too much studying results in a loss of social skills, while too much nonchalance regarding school work results in dwindling grades and lack of imperative knowledge.
Many circumstances during my teens were thrust upon me. With the death of my uncle, I learned how important friends and family are when support is needed and how necessary they are for the maintenance of a normal life. From the relationships I developed with the opposite sex, I came to realize that no matter how hard I try to do the right thing, it may just backfire in my face, and, as is common knowledge, sometimes “nice guys finish last.” From the relationships I developed with the same sex, via participation and leadership on sports teams (varsity lacrosse), I came to appreciate the bond men can share together and the necessity of testosterone filled guys who sometimes are the only ones who really understand me and are there when I really need it.
Most importantly, from my relationships with my family, I adapted a certain type of open kindness that I try to infuse in my relationships with every person I meet. Every day I learn to keep an open mind and try to learn something new. As I continue to develop as a human being, I must take knowledge from every adolescent situation I am involved in, whether it’s a relationship with a girlfriend, bonding with the lacrosse team, spending quality family time together, or escaping a little trouble on the weekends. I believe that the best, most extemporaneous, extremely deep situations occur as a teenager, so that is the time to soak in the most experience and set a foundation of who I want to be for the future.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.