Ta-daaa! Today is my 20th birthday, and I will never have to be a teenager as long as I live. *applauds self for having survived the heinous jungle that is high school/freshman year of college* The first semester of sophomore year of college that I just completed wasn't too rough except let us be honest -- Chemistry? Yikes… I got my grades yesterday, and luckily I received two As, one A-, and I plead the fifth when it comes to Chem. But something I realized is that although my perfectionist self would usually get upset about that gnarly mark, I was actually incredibly proud of myself. Which I think says a lot about how far I've come over the years in the realm of self-acceptance. I tried the best that I could, and you know what? That's simply all I could ever ask for from myself.
I spent yesterday reflecting back upon my teenage years as a whole and I recalled a lot of memories: the good, the bad, and the just plain hideous. Instead of focusing on what I wish I could have changed (i.e. every mistake I've ever made), I decided to concentrate more on the life lessons I learned, as well as what my person strengths and weaknesses are as a human being, and how I can apply all of this knowledge to my future adult life!
In my teenage years, I've learned:how to say no, how to say yes and surprise myself completely, how to forgive,(more importantly) how to forget, how to encourage friends to seek the help they need, how to make others smile in times when I could barely smile myself, how to express myself with greater clarity and eloquence, how to stick up for myself and causes that I truly believe in, and how to allow myself to fall in love with a full and open heart.
Two highly significant aspects that came up time and time again were the concepts of trust and faith.
In others, in myself, in the way the world seems to self-regulate. By believing people innocent unless otherwise proven guilty, I can rest easy knowing that I have a support system to fall back on, which is so important!! In the past, I've had some serious trust issues -- for good reason -- but I'm coming to accept that I don't want to live the life of a bitter, scorned, and overall cynical lady. I need to feel that burning sense of vulnerability and knock down those barriers I've put up for far too long. The most rewarding friendships and relationships are those where it's a two-way street of openness, and I can see that I have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, or risk missing out on some truly meaningful connections, the ones that make life rich and rewarding in a myriad of ways.
Not necessarily religious, but also in other people, as well as my own potential/abilities!! Throughout high school, I always was crushed when a teacher wouldn't believe in me. I let their notion of superiority and their unwarranted level of conceit bully me into feeling like I could never be the star student I was just a few months ago back in junior high school and earlier. Because they didn't believe in me, I found it hard to believe in myself. When I came to college, I was happy to see that although some professors were a bit condescending in their nature towards their students, most actually wanted us to succeed! Wow, what a change in environment. For the first time in a long time, I wasn't learning just for tests. I wasn't learning just to beat a certain percentile of other test takers. I was learning...for me. Rather than assume everyone is just waiting for me to fail, I can see now that there are people in my life who actually want to see me do great things, and more importantly, believe that I can!