Photograph by Chiara Cappetta
I am 19 years old. Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about what I really want out of life and how I can actually get to a stage of implementing this. But this has been, as you can imagine, quite stressful. I’m not sure if these feelings are because I am naturally a perfectionist or because I feel unfulfilled at the present. In conjunction to this, I have also been having regrets about the way I have led my life up to now, feeling like I should have been better and different in some way (again I think this could be some perfectionism), maybe I should have treasured time more and spent more time with my family, even though I haven’t been quite different from the average teenager. How do I accept myself as I am, along with my past. And how do I have faith in my future?
Firstly, we want to thank you so much for writing in, it takes courage to put yourself out there and get advice and suggestions so we want to say well done! We have two wonderful interns to answer your question below! We have all had feelings similar to this, so the most important thing is to know you are completely normal and human!
Take a deep breath, eat a cookie, and focus on today. You know, I think the best part about our teenage years at High School is being young enough to day dream about our futures, without the pressure of actually having to pursue these dreams in the ‘adult world’. Although you may be feeling the proverbial clock ticking -remember, you have plenty of time! Time to chase after opportunities, time to change your mind, time to find the fulfillment you are seeking. I know you’re questioning how to have faith in your future, but ultimately you’ve got to have faith in yourself. As you’re finding, being nineteen years old can kind of suck. Welcome to a tumultuous and transitional year. I got overly nostalgic towards my childhood, finding myself missing how the afternoon light would turn my bedroom golden (like seriously, Aimée?). I doubted who I was becoming, and missed who I was. Looking back, I understand this as part of the quarter-life crisis of my twenties, and I think you’re an early bloomer (just like me!). My advice to you is to write a list (I know, I know -very ‘mum’ of me). Anything you want can go on it: be it booking in weekly Skype dinners with your parents, emailing a cool place for an internship (like *cough* Ramona magazine), planning a road trip, making contact with people you admire and plead for advice (Instagram dm’s are DEFINITELY the way to go about this), or setting aside an hour a week to watch ‘The Hills’ reruns. These lists, for me, were a way of taking back control of all the/my craziness -and they could be a way for you too. Nevertheless, you’ll find your footing (and yourself) along the way before you know it. Good luck and dream of turning 20 (it gets better I promise!).
Love, Aimée xxx
You are seriously not alone with your emotions. Everyone will feel this at one period in their lifetime. For me personally, I am 22 and I feel the same way occasionally, so it is really normal. It is ok to step back and reassess everything, and create goals. Whether it is deferring a semester at uni or having the occasional mental health day. You cannot really change the past, but you can change the future. So if you don’t think you’re spending enough time with family, then create time with them now and in the future. You can plan cute dates with your family like bush walking or a brunch date, also, bring a disposable camera with you and take photos of the time you spend with your family then you can create physical copies of your time with them.
To accept yourself, you have to learn how to be comfortable in your own skin. It isn’t an overnight cure but a lifelong journey. For me, I write down what makes me happy that day or five things that I like about myself. Stick it in a journal or on your wall. It is mainly about being content with what you have at the present moment rather than what you want that isn’t obtainable. In regards to your future, if you want a particular adventure or a particular career, create goals toward it. These goals can start as short term goals and extend to long such as a 5 year goal or 10 year go. Be confident! You’re going to be ok!
Love, Sinead xo