#TwentySevenTEEN: How I Survived Teenage Life

Dear 2017,

First off, I want to say I’m sorry that you’re ending so soon. While it seems like it was only yesterday my family and I were greeting each other Happy 2017, it also feels like two years passed by instead of just one. I learned so much and experienced so much that I am overwhelmed by the idea that this year is  over, and a new one is taking its place.

So much happened this year, 2017. You were jam packed with fun times, new friends, happy memories, meaningful experiences, regrets, mistakes, and life lessons.

I turned 14 this year, which was a lot of fun. I had just survived my first year of being a teenager, which was weird but manageable, but then suddenly, a tidal wave of teenage drama came crashing in. Weird crushes, acne, braces, emo stages, and clothes that didn’t fit anymore took over my life for a while, and it was awful. I would turn into a ball of frustration and anger when the clothes I picked out for the day would turn out to be too small for me, when my face was like a pimple farm, when my hair was a rat’s nest, when my crush would ignore me, or when all my “problems” would happen at the same time.

But then on one particularly bad hair day, something in my mixed-up brain made me realize that my so called “problems” were not problems at all. They were just inconveniences in my day, which would end up being a fun and productive one, despite my clothes not matching or being a little snug..

With that in mind, I decided to do something about the little inconveniences in my life instead of moaning about them. No clothes to wear? Time to go to the ukay-ukay! Eliminate pimples by washing your face more often! Try a different shampoo on your hair! So what if crush doesn’t text you? You’re too busy spending your time going on fun and meaningful experiences to be emo about it! Yay!

With a brand-new outlook on teenage life, I decided to just enjoy new music tastes, newfound fashion sense, R13 movies, celebrity crushes, girl talk, and more freedom and independence instead of whining about how being a teenager sucks. And it was awesome.

But that doesn’t mean that everything about being a teenager was a walk in the park. When I went to a summer camp two years ago in 2016, I realized that I was totally clueless about actually BEING a millennial teenager. What does that mean? It meant that I had no idea what people were listening to on the radio, what slang they were using on the daily, what social media apps were cool, or what clothes were in style. Do they still even listen to the radio? Do they still say “on the daily?” Is Facebook still a thing? Do people still even wear clothes?! Wait.

I reached a point where I needed to relax and remember that “being in the know” was not some huge mountain I had to climb in order to say that I was truly a real TEENAGER. Being in the know is like a roadside attraction I would pass by when we would go on a road trip. It wasn’t necessary to go down and check it out, but if you did, it was fun.

So, during your summer, the summer of ’17, I arrived at the same summer camp confident with my own teenage knowledge. I knew that Shape of You by Ed Sheeran and Fresh Eyes by Andy Grammer were popular songs, that Instagram was way better than Facebook, that white sneakers and denim jackets were stylish again, and people liked saying “lit” and “slay.” But I didn’t get embarrassed or ashamed when I learned new songs I didn’t know about, like Symphony by Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson or Stay by Zedd and Alessia Cara, or when I was one of the few girls who didn’t have Snapchat. I got over FOMO, a.k.a. Fear Of Missing Out, and decided that it was more fun learning about new stuff from other people instead of going crazy trying to absorb all the information I could about who’s who in the numerous K-pop bands. Plus, no one really judged me for not knowing everything they knew. Now they could tell me all about why they love Shawn Mendes so much and I would genuinely enjoy listening to them. It was a win-win situation.

2017, I will forever remember you as the year I grew up. Even though I made a lot of mistakes this year, I now acknowledge that they were necessary for me to be able to mature a bit and find ways to improve myself.

I got to know a lot of people this year and make new friends, while becoming closer to those I already knew, like my cousins with whom I spent weeks this year.

I also got my own column this 2017, which is amazing! I could never have imagined myself in this situation.

Thanks for everything, 2017! Wish me luck, I’m turning 15 soon.

Oh no.

Love, Elise

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