According to Henry Page, “You are never more alive than when you’re a teenager.”
The teenage years can be defined as some of the best and the worst years of your life. At least, I know they were for me. My teenage years were a time of immense growth, confusion, heartache, rebellion, regret, fear, and overall pure bliss. I was constantly in a struggle of trying to keep the innocence of my childhood, yet also trying to accept the beginning of my adulthood. Hence, the teenage limbo—the unavoidable limbo between being a child and becoming an adult.
It’s a beautiful and messy time of life that scars each and every one of us. It gives us the kind of scars we like to keep to remind us what we’ve been through and how we got where we are today. It’s a reminder that we found the beauty in the toughest time of life. That we made it out alive, and would do it all again if we could. I know I would.
Because being a teenager meant falling in love too fast, spending too much time trying to fit in, fighting with your parents, laughing with your friends, crying in the shower, sneaking out of home, and making memories that last a lifetime. Being a teenager meant learning when you’re wrong and trying to be right. It meant fighting battles you always knew you were going to lose. It meant not caring about anything yet worrying about everything. It meant letting go of the old and moving on to the new. It meant living in the moment, making impulsive decisions, and experiencing the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It meant we were living.
When you’re a teenager, you feel like you’re suddenly trying everything for the first time. It’s like you’re suddenly introduced to a whole world of new experiences, new feelings, and new desires. It’s a time of physical and mental change—perhaps the most important time of change where our bodies develop physically, sexually, and emotionally. That’s a lot of changes for anyone to experience, and yet no one ever tells us how to deal with them. Rather, we are all left to deal with it all alone and are left to our own journey of self-discovery and realization. Each journey is different, yet somehow similar.
We may have grown up in different cities, with a different group of friends, with different expectations from our families, and with different hopes and dreams we each had for ourselves. However, we all had similar realizations. Because when we’re teenagers, we all begin to realize that choices come with consequences, that love comes with heartbreak, that fear comes with regret, and that the good always comes with the bad.
You begin to realize that sometimes things fall apart so better things can come together, that the good friends will stick around and the not so good ones will continue to let you down. That parents really do want the best for you, that teachers really do want to help you, and that it’s going to be okay if you make mistakes or let them down.
The teenage limbo. We have all lived it or are yet to experience it. Some say the teenage years make you, some say they break you. Personally, I believe they did both. They broke the person I thought I was and the person I was trying to be, and they made me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be me, if I didn’t experience the beautiful agony of my teenage years. I wouldn’t hold some of the greatest memories of my life spent running a muck with my closest friends, making impulsive decisions, experiencing my first love and my first heartbreak. I wouldn’t have known what it meant or what it felt like to live in the moment, to be thankful for all the joyous times of life, and to sit in sadness when I have to.
I wouldn’t understand what it meant to be alive. Because you never feel more alive than you do during your teenage years.