Monday Musings: Dear Younger Self

Welcome to ‘Monday Musings’!

A new segment from Teenplicity, ‘Monday Musings’ will explore personal interests and thoughts in a multitude of ways. Whether it be through lists, fan interaction, or discussion posts, each week will offer a different topic and new perspective from Teenplicity about what is on our mind. The range of topics, just like our interests, will be vast. Some might be familiar, as it could highlight previous feature stars, while others will discuss uncharted subjects for Teenplicity. They might be fun posts with a silly twist or a more serious discussion about something that could concern you.

The goal is for Teenplicity to become more engaged and involved with our readers. The Teenplicity Team is made up of fans, just like you. Let us know what you care about – a show, a film, music, an event or aspect of your life. There are no limits for what can be explored in ‘Monday Musings’ or how we present it to you.

When I interview someone who has had a lot of change happen in their life, I always like to ask them one of two questions – sometimes even both.

1.      What are some words of wisdom or a piece of advice you’d give your younger self?

2.      What have you learned about yourself over the last year/since x?

Some answers were words of inspiration to their younger selves: rejection will happen but it won’t be the end of the world. Others were facts of life and knowledge gained, the ability to be confident in what they do.

Now, wherever you are, take a moment, take a deep breath, and take a look into your future. 10 years from now, where do you think you’d be? What do you think you’d learn? How has your life changed?

For some readers, I’m sure it’s very easy to look into their imagination, into their hopes and aspirations, and see exactly what they want for their future. Others, like me, can barely even form a blurred image of what that could be.

In 2009, I thought I knew a lot. I obviously knew that my knowledge was limited and that I didn’t know everything but I still felt that what I knew was quite a lot. As I learned, and we all eventually do, I was very wrong and extremely naïve.

My life was absolutely crazy and amazing and terrifying and sad in 2009. I graduated middle school, was heading to a high school that no one else I knew was going to, and my best friend was moving across the country. Aside from that, I had an incredible summer filled with a lot of sleepovers, many adventures, and the very start of my concert obsession. I had my first boyfriend in 2009, no matter how short-lived it was, and my first kiss. I started to branch out on my own for the first time ever since I knew no one at my high school. I thought I was aware of so many things and what was right and what was wrong.

Being in 2019, ten years older, wiser, and more mature, I honestly want to laugh a little bit at my younger self. It’s to be expected, of course, but the knowledge I have now, the confidence in myself, the risks I’ve taken and the amazing experiences I’ve had, are so much more than I ever imagined.

But if there is one thing I am still learning to do every day and trying to practice in my life, it’s to not be so hard on my younger self.

I look back at the problems and concerns I used to have and by all measures of my life today, they’re ridiculous and laughable. To be honest, I knew so then too. I would always hear people say that I would look back at my problems and realize just how small they were and I knew they were right. But I would tell myself that as much as that might be true, it still was having a strong effect on me and it was a big problem at that time. But I am learning not to beat myself up for how I reacted or how it felt.

I’d be lying if I said that I still didn’t think over different things I did, even ten years ago, that make me cringe and ask myself – why did I do that?!

I will admit that I’ve gotten better. Instead of cringing when I look at how crazy I dressed at concerts, I just laugh and shrug it off because I was happy and having fun. I don’t judge myself too harshly for my feelings or not knowing that it was anxiety that was affecting me at certain moments. I look at my ignorance as just that – ignorance, and how far I’ve come since.

I’ve learned how to accept my mistakes and grow. And trust me, there are plenty of mistakes.

I have found that there is so much more that is left to learn in this world that I ever could have imagined. I have come to terms with not only the disadvantages that I will face but also the privilege I possess. My thought processes and my beliefs have been altered and I’ve had a drastic reflection of my sense of self – both to myself and who I am to the world, as well as how I affect it.

There are times when I think back to one of my college classes. It was one of my lectures about television and I decided that for my final presentation I would compare the change in television in terms of diversity, social media, and more. And I think back to how proud I was but also how uninformed at the same time. My portion on diversity is honestly laughable compared to what I’ve learned since and I didn’t realize at the time because I was blissfully unaware of plights of others. As much as I wish I could redo it and just be better, I can’t. So instead, I use that presentation as a marker in my journey. It’s sort of a ‘Look at where I was, look at how far I’ve come,’ moment. I hope to have many more of those.

Since 2009, I’ve seen the people I care about at their lowest points. I have lost one of the most beloved people in my life and one of my biggest supporters. I’ve lived on my own, tried so many new paths, and learned to love and accept myself in a way I never knew was possible. I took incredible journeys that brought me all across the country, I met some of my favorite people who live all over the world, and I am continuing to grow and discover what I love.

If I had to give my younger self some words of wisdom or some advice, it would be this:

Do your best. You’re not always going to be great at what you attempt, and you might not be aware of everything but try your best to do better than you were yesterday. Don’t be afraid to take a risk, be welcoming towards new opportunities, and embrace new relationships as they work their way into your life.

Things will get better. As cheesy, cliché, and overused as it may seem, you will find brighter days coming to you. You will find incredible people who lift up your world, you will nurture your passion, and you will learn to love yourself more than you could ever imagine.

Life gets tough and it throws so many curveballs sometimes that you don’t know how you’ll get through it. But you will. You will find the laughter in the dark moments and you will come out stronger. All you have to do is try to be better.

PS: How’s everyone’s resolutions coming along? I’m definitely trying.

Did you like ‘Monday Musings’? If so, you’re in luck! Each week, Teenplicity will feature a new ‘Monday Musings’ post about things we are looking forward to, topics close to our hearts, or suggestions from readers!

Do you have a suggestion for ‘Monday Musings’? You can let Teenplicity know what you’d like to see on Twitter or anonymously on Tumblr! Or you can directly contact Mary Ayers on Twitter and anonymously on Tumblr or Brie Garrett on Twitter and Tumblr

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