Wednesday, October 29, 2014

10th Sep 2014 - Growing up (aka things I wish I could tell my young self)

So some of the people I know, that know me, or even are my friends, you could say are actually quite youthful. I am stuck in this trope though where I am only 25, but I already feel like I've got a ton of wisdom I want to share.
Not so much as to feel like a sage, but because they're mainly mistakes I see no reason people of younger generations should make.

In the BroStream chat I usually end up writing a paragraph of these, and adding a few more lines that barely do justice to the point I'm trying to make. If not already utterly drown in the mass of other people talking.

So, I decided to round a few up. I try to stay as general as possible. There are some lessons that are more unique to the kind of person you are. But there are also some lessons that you need to learn the hard way. However, those that remain, I'll try and gather here. If it's received well, I may do encores. Who knows.

Seeing as how I consider the coherent internet user to be at least of the age of 12, and willing to read long texts to be at an age of 14-16, I'm going to somewhat list these chronologically. Or at least to the best of my ability.

High School. It's fucking scary. Whichever way you turn it, if you're intimidated now, you're gonna be intimidated for a good while in the beginning of the school year. You're afraid. That's fine. That fear is going to help you keep yourself at edge, pay attention to your surroundings, learn your new environment and the people in it. You'll get used to it. It'll even become a huge ass tedium that you hate dealing with. But it'll get better and those first few weeks will look truly insignificant.

Boring classes. Oh yeah, unless you are one of the rare human specimens that can get excited for every class for a whole year, you'll encounter classes that you have no interest for or can barely stand. Sometimes you just need to discover the true appeal to them, but more often than not you can use this knowledge to learn what career directions you probably won't aspire after. That's useful information.

Low scores and failing classes. Most parents have a strong interest in the grades of their child. But parents are parents, and don't always know how to be sane about it. This means that there's a huge bunch of stress on your shoulders. So here's a piece of advice, if you know there'll be courses you're gonna score bad at.

- Try and master the basics first. Get that foundation going. It might help understand the context of the theory that forms upon it.
- That's also handy in cases where knowledge of that can get you some scores. If you know you won't score great, try to score on a minimum so it won't let you fail your year.
- Try and study real hard on the classes that interest you a lot. Not only could they turn out to be real interesting for a future career venue, but they can help carry you through your year.

I always say that it's fine to score a barely sufficient score for a class you know you'll never want a career in. My French sucked and still does, but I know I wasn't going to be a translator. English and IT we're my strength, and lo and behold... I'm quite trained in both, even if I say so myself.

Social Media. I'm gonna sound like a parent, but you need to be real fucking careful. Don't throw your real name around so much. Only experienced people know how to clean up their papertrail when they're an adult, and it's not easy. So that can bite you in the ass when you've grown up.

But even in shorter term, using your real name online and even posting pictures makes you an easier target for Cyber bullying. They've only to know your name and they can start spamming or threatening you.
One way to deal with Cyber Bullying, while very hard, is to realize that you're only dealing with the internet. You can shut it off, and talk to someone about it.

Parents and Family. If you even have the slightest suspicion that they care about you, they'll have an ear for what you're going through. Not all parents are as capable of bringing their point forward as well. Therefor it's important that you early on try to establish a good relationship with your parents on how you like to be treated when you need some advice. Bear with them. They may have been teenagers too once, but knowing how they feel is different from figuring out how you feel. This is new terrain for everybody, in a way. Patience will have to come from both ways.

The mistake I made with my parents was that I basically talked about nothing with them, ever. It lead to be cropping up most of my emotions, becoming a very frustrated, sometimes even aggressive, person. That all started to sort itself out when I was assigned a therapist where I could just talk to and engage in mind-freeing activities. We didn't always need to talk about how I felt. Sometimes we just cooked a dessert or something. Therapy is more than people make it out to be. It's about freeing that stuffed mind so it's no longer in a state of disarray and confusion.

Friends. This is a tough one. When you've been in the same school together for years, you'll come to believe that nothing can separate you. But once you graduate, suddenly you start losing contact with these friends. it's as if they want nothing to do with you anymore, and that you never really had any friends at all. A very disenchanting experience.

In reality, it becomes more a thing about perspective and staying positive. These friends in school weren't as much friends as they were people who were sharing your fate, as they were in the same school and/or class with you. Adjust your expectations. Realize that there may be a time that you'll have to say goodbye and that they may disappear from your life.

In return, learn that school isn't the only way to make friends. Let's ignore the fact that some friends on the internet are actually good people. Having a job, or just frequenting anything for any reason means you can make friends there through any wicked weave of fate. But here's the key difference: Besides work, these encounters and blooming friendships are more often than not voluntary.

Making friends in school is often a matter of just finding common ground and then knowing these people won;t make this obligatory "waste of time" any worse. Outside of work/school, friends that you make are simply people whom have mutually decided that they are not annoying or even fun to hang out with.
Friendship does not stop after graduation, it takes a new definition.

Your body. Yes, it's normal that it's like that or is getting like that or refuses to get like that. No you shouldn't be embarrassed about it. YES, you can ask your parents about it.
Unless you have a bodily (or otherwise) handicap, there is no way that an adult doesn't know the strife that you are or have to go through. They know. As embarrassing as it may feel, they have felt the exact same way and would love to tell you how exactly it's going to go and that it's going to be fucking fine.

No, really. From pimples or pubic hair to size of your genitals. If it worries you, ask about it. But don't think you're going to evolve into a mutant. You're not. This path has been tread before and there is a wealth of knowledge about it.

Emotions. Yes, you might be overreacting. No, it's not abnormal. There's a chance your hormones are fucking with you. What can you do? Nothing, it's part of growing up and you'll have to muscle through it. But realizing and trying to work with it is the first step. Especially when you've emotionally hurt someone, trying to explain it that way may seem like a cop-out, but if it's the truth... it's the truth. Just try not to overuse it, or we get a Boy Cries Wolf situation.

Stuff that you like. Aren't people insane for not liking the same stuff that you do? Well, people have different flavors. And as you grow up, you'll learn to rationalize the fact that, with people being endlessly unique, also means the chance that someone won't like something that you do. Or see things the way that you do. If you want to introduce someone to your style of music, then try, but don't push it too hard. It could harm your relationship with them if you push them for it, and insisting may never result in them caving in.

The scary future. You're getting there. Your last few years in school. You don't know what kind of job you want yet, or you're afraid there are no job openings for what you want. Even worse, you've been completely intimidated by the scary stories that adults tell you.

Don't panic. Most of these adults mean well. They intimidate you so that you learn that being an adult won't be a cakewalk. But it won't be an impossibility either. While their intimidation is often counteractive to this, self confidence is actually the lesson you should take away from this. Be confident that, when you graduate, all your efforts should go into finding a career.

Worry later about becoming self reliant. If you still live at home and you're not being an ungrateful son, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Many adults still live at home with their parents. Not surprisingly, because the economy is still recovering from it's collapse. We can't be expected to all have the wonderful miracle run of getting that perfect job and be able to pay off that perfect home with garden and a tree house.

These things take time and effort, and make for a goal to look forward to, as you strut forward in this harsh but real world. And yes, it is harsh, but by the time you'll have to face it, your school and environment should have done it's utter best to prepare you for it. That, or the school system is failing.

I hope that these in some way help someone. Or at least make for an interesting read. It's been a topic I always wanted to address. Just bundle that stuff I always wanted to tell my young self. Tell that silly little guy that it's all going to work out. Well, at least the stupid stuff he's worrying about.

If you think I forgot a topic or piece of advice, do let me know.
I've spent an entire hour writing this. Jeesh.

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