There was nothing particularly spectacular about my fifteenth year. I didn’t change the world or even change schools. But I stopped being a kid, and that required a lot of growing up.
1. Try not to care because they’ll talk either way.
You’re a teenage girl in high school, so avoiding gossip is difficult. Don’t bother trying too hard. If it’s true, try not to regret it. If it’s false, then remember that it’s a lie, and those who don’t believe it are probably worth knowing.
2. Respect other people’s abilities regardless of their personality.
OK, fine. There are people you hate, but remember that you should not be bitter about their achievements. If they are amazing at sports—even better than you—then good on them, well done. They can be useful in winning your next hockey match. You do not have to be better than them.
3. People are a lot more complicated than they look.
I know it seems like some of your peers have nothing to worry about—except perhaps what hairstyle to wear in the morning—but believe me when I say that’s not true. People tend to keep what’s worrying them hidden. Try to be nice to them because you never know what they’re going through. But if they trust you enough to open up, listen to their stories.
4. There is a fine line between pride and arrogance.
It is good to be aware of how smart you are, how good you are at sports, and how attractive you are. You are allowed to be proud of your achievements, but be careful not to look down on others as a result.
5. There’s a point at which you need to stop thinking about it, take a chance, and hope for the best.
You could do pretty much whatever you like. You know pretty much every career path you could take. You know enough. If you like it just do it. Stop worrying about what else you could do and all your other options. If you love it, do it. That applies to romantic relationships, too.
6. Success is made of three things: talent, hard work, and good luck.
Even if you’re talented, you’re going to have to work hard, and even then success is not guaranteed. Then again, success is not black and white. You’re going to fail at things, and you may not be as successful as you hope, but use that to your advantage. Take your failures and learn from them. Fail better the second time.
7. Live your life happy that you did the best you could with what you had.
Embrace every opportunity you can. Know that you couldn’t have made a better decision at the time. Apply for that scholarship, utilize your sporting ability, and run for charity. There’s nothing you will regret more than the things you could have done but chose not to do out of pure apathy.
8. Live your life feeling that you made the right decisions.
How you react to a situation and the decisions you make are about the only things you have control over, so be careful to understand why you do what you do, so when you wake up at 40 and think you are boring, you know it’s entirely your own fault.
9. You do not have to justify anything you do to anyone but yourself.
As long as you are not hurting anyone, you do not owe them anything.
10. Trust your instincts.
They are often right.
11. Intelligence is not synonymous with academic success.
If you do not achieve academic success that does not make you stupid. And equally, you do not need to prove that you are intelligent by pursuing academic success. Intelligence cannot be measured like that. If you want to seem intelligent then prove it with your words, your actions, and your empathy.
12. Some things are going to be unpleasant.
It won’t be fun, but just ride it out. It does, as they say, get better. So savor it when things are good. Not all successes have to be huge. Enjoy cooking a meal for the first time, enjoy your first kiss, and enjoy it when your friend writes you a note inside your Christmas card thanking you for your friendship.
13. Don’t give away your heart—or your lips—freely.
Both can be monumentally painful, and most often it is not just you who has to endure the aftermath.
14. Nobody else has a clue what they’re doing, either.
It may seem like they do, but don’t worry about it so much. Have some fun and enjoy being a teenager.
15. You’re going to be OK.
It may not seem like it, but it will be OK. Even when you find yourself crying your eyes out on the bathroom floor, remember to wipe your eyes and wake up feeling better the next day. Yesterday cannot touch you. Humans have a spectacular ability to keep going. Friends leave, lovers lie, and people make horrible mistakes. But you will find friends with whom you have more in common and lovers who are more loyal—and you will have spectacular triumphs. Wait for it.
Good luck, kiddo. You’re going to need it.