The other day I had a conversation with a student. She told me that a couple of her teachers had said she and her classmates should be glad to be teenagers. “Just wait till you’re grown-up, and you have to do some silly job all day long, and are oppressed by your boss! At least now you’re having one or two subjects at school that you like.”
Hm. First, I have to say that I’m feeling sorry for those teachers. If they’re as unhappy as that, maybe they should change their life. But then I had to tell my student this:
While there are people for whom childhood and teenage years mark the best part of their life, I’m really happy to be a grown-up.
The thing I like the most is the degree of freedom and self-reliance. Freedom and responsibility are going hand in hand, and I actually like being responsible, too. For myself and for my child.
In the process of growing older, I have become happier and more content. My childhood and teenage years were full of anxiety and insecurity. When I was about the age of my student, I longed for:
- somebody who loves me and with whom I could have great sex
- to become a musician
- to be cool and accepted
- to have nice clothes (okay, make that cool clothes)
- to feel good about myself and the way I look
- to have curly hair
- to have at least enough money
- intellectual and emotional stimulating company
And now, as I write this, all of this has come true. Apart from the being cool and accepted part. But then, there are people who think that I’m cool. (And no, I didn’t have a perm, it did turn out that having straight hair with strangely unruly bangs translates into really having wavy hair. Duh.)
So, for all the teenagers out there: Don’t believe that life only can get worse. Please. It’s up to you to make a difference.
And to all the grown-ups: If you’re unhappy, please remember that you have a choice.