Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Teenagers are afraid, anxious and trying

    A grade, grief, growing up … this is the life of a teenager.
    Teenagers are given a label. A label of being emotionally unstable, of being immature and unsure of who they are, but really teenagers are more sure of who they are then they’re given credit for. They do what they love. They prioritize, not rationalize. They may make mistakes, but at least they’re brave enough to try.
    Teenagers are told to be themselves but fit in, to balance their lives but devote their time to education, to live in the moment, but think about where they’ll be in 10 years. Teenagers are seen as too young to drink, vote, have serious relationships, but then they’re supposed to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. They’re asked to make these decisions that are so permanent yet they still have to ask permission to go the bathroom.
    Teenagers see school as earning the grade, not gaining the knowledge. They’re led to believe that if they don’t get the best grades then their future is a fast-food window. Not all teenagers are good at school, but judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, and it will live the rest of its life believing it is stupid.
    Teenagers are no longer kids, but they’re not ready to be adults. They’re forced into this crazy, wonderfully horrible world. They’re no longer sheltered from the realities of life. Teenagers experience loss, stress, new love, heartbreaks and growing up. They yearn for the simplicity of being a little kid, and having no responsibilities. Yet they are so eager to be done with school, and begin the next chapter as adults. With adulthood comes fear. Fear of forgetting what it’s like to be young. Fear of experiencing new things. Fear of being ordinary.
    Little kids dream about their futures, little kids become teenagers, and teenagers keep dreaming it may be the same dream, or a new dream every day. Those dreams become the targets for every teenager, and none of those dreams are ordinary—they’re nothing less than extraordinary. Whether they want to be a mom or a dad, a celebrity, an athlete, a hero, they’re all important. Dreams may be scary, but that just means they’re worthwhile.
    Adults see the world differently. They’ve experienced the greatest highs in life, and they’ve been at their lowest lows, but teenagers haven’t. Give a teenager insight and common sense, but don’t hold them back. Don’t tell them they can’t. Teenagers are dreamers, and they’ll do everything they can to prove adults wrong. They are rebellious, after all. So know that teenagers are experiencing everything, and making memories that will last a lifetime. Know that youth is fleeting, and we’re trying—that’s all we can do is try. We’re afraid and anxious and trying.
A teenager in Hailey

    Editor’s note: As a matter of policy, the Express does not publish anonymous letters to the editor. An exception was made in this case.


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