In the article, “What You Learn in Your 40’s,” Pamela Druckerman shares a few life lessons and gives wise tips to her younger audience, all based on her own experiences as an adult. After noting eight significant pieces of advice, I decided to respond from a teenager’s perspective:
#1: “Worry less about what people think of you.”
This is great advice. People of all ages struggle with being themselves around others in fear of criticism or judgement. If everyone were a little less self-conscious, the world would definitely be a happier, more relaxed place. Not worrying about what others think is also beneficial because, like Druckerman mentioned in her article, “you can pick up an astonishing amount of information…You no longer leave conversations wondering what just happened.” Unfortunately, in a world where everyone is expected to live up to certain standards to “fit in”, self-confidence and self-acceptance are hard to have.
#2: “Eight hours of continuous sleep is one of life’s greatest pleasures.”
Druckerman makes a great point here. Sleep is extremely important in order to be successful and happy/healthy. Each of us learns about the benefits of sleep (more energy, less stress, better mood) very early on, but a majority of teenagers, including myself, take sleep for granted. I know that I’m guilty of not getting enough sleep during the school week in order to stay up late and talk to friends. I’m led to believe that because Druckerman brought this up in her article, teenagers and young adults do not fully understand how great and precious sleep really is.
#3: “There are no grown ups…everyone is winging it.”
In her article, Druckerman admits that this bit of advice isn’t fully understood until one actually become an adult, but nonetheless, I agree. There isn’t a “How to Be a Grown-up” class or even a list of expectations/rules. In truth, adults just have more experience. Having more experience helps adults take on “the real world” more confidently and successfully. Teenagers are also made of experiences, they just don’t have as many as adults do. Amount of experience (and age) is really the only thing that separates us.
#4: “There are no soul mates.”
As much as I don’t want to believe Druckerman’s bold statement, she’s probably right. I would like to think that everyone has a predetermined soulmate, but with 7 billion people in the world, having just one soulmate is unrealistic. When people think of soulmates, specifically teenagers, they think of “love at first sight” or “true love,” when in reality, soulmates are, by definition, “a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.” Soulmates don’t just happen. Great, lasting relationships builr over long periods of time. For most teens, this lesson is learned the hard way.
#5: “You will miss out on some near soul mates [and] friendships.”
This might be some of Druckerman’s best advice. It’s impossible to keep every friend we make, simply because life happens; interests change and people move on. Teenagers face this a lot, but losing friends and having breakups is just a part of growing up and knowing what kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Even when it feels like the end of the world, it is definitely not. When one door closes, another is opened.
#6: “Emotional scenes are tiring and pointless.”
I personally think it’s good for people to get emotional from time to time, particularly teens who are no strangers to drama. I myself am a firm believer in emotions, mainly because it seems unhealthy to keep everything locked away inside. Admittedly, it’s probably not in anyone’s best interest to start an emotional “scene” like Druckerman describes, but I find that not being emotional enough leaves people bitter and uptight later in life.
#7: “Forgive your exes, even the awful ones.”
Forgiveness is so important for teenagers and adults to understand. Holding lifelong grudges against people that do us wrong is pointless and a complete waste of energy. The sooner we learn to forgive, the sooner we learn to love. It’s good for teenagers to learn this lesson early on and rid themselves of their lasting hatred towards others.
#8: “Just say no.”
For teenagers especially, this is a necessary concept to grasp. High school is where teens are faced with some of the most pressing and life changing social situations. To put it simply, if someone’s asking us to do something we don’t want to do, it’s okay to stand up for ourselves and say, “no.” No one should have to succomb to peer pressure or the opposing interests of others. How awful it would be to look back years from now and regret doing something we never really wanted to do in the first place.