If someone had told me four years ago that I would have gotten everything I’d ever wanted, I wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, I would have laughed. Perhaps I was (and am) a pessimist, but it’s not something I ever thought would happen.
But it did happen. All the goals I set myself when I was 14 were reached. And amongst the craziness of growing up and dealing with adult life, I simply forgot about it. It all happened and I didn’t even realise it.
I visited New York City, which was a life-long goal of mine. I passed all my GCSEs and my A-Levels. I shaved the side of my head and dyed it bright blue. I got a nose piercing and I got tattoos. I moved to London to study journalism. I saw Paramore in concert and Hayley Williams even replied to me on Twitter once. That was everything my fourteen year old self wanted.
When I realised that the other day, I began to cry. I was living the dream life of my former self and I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t content. I still found things to complain about, and I’d completely forgotten where I’d come from. I forgot how depressed I was at that time in my life and how all of these things happening then would have solved that. They’re small and dumb things, I know, but having a bright hair colour or getting a piercing mattered to me then.
So why weren’t these things helping me now?
We change. We all change. We have to change.
The things I dreamed of when I was fourteen aren’t the goals I have now. To me, having blue hair or a shaved side is just a thing. It’s trivial. Seeing Paramore in concert was amazing but it wasn’t the best day of my life. I appreciate all of them but they aren’t essential to my happiness now like they were then.
I’ve grown up and the things that used to mean so much to me are just...Things.
It’s not bad to change. It’s not bad to grow up and lose interest in things you used to love. If anything, it’s natural and part of life. It’s not healthy to stay the same forever. We’re growing and changing every day and sometimes we have to accept that.
I had a hard time doing that at first. I couldn’t understand why I had to change. I didn’t want to - I was pretty happy staying fifteen forever and writing fan fiction and not having a worry in the world. The idea of becoming an adult and getting a degree or a job seemed so dull to me. But, ultimately, aging and growing is something we don’t get a say in. It’s not up to us whether we grow up.
Ironically, everything that fifteen year old me wanted, she got - because I grew up. I became the person I wanted, even if I don’t always see it now.
You might be feeling that right. Being a teenager is a weird time; you’re constantly changing and growing and getting to know yourself. I had a million different identities and obsessions and interests when I was in early teenage years. You have to grow to get to know yourself. Dealing with the growing pains of your teenage years is simply a stop on the way to becoming who you’re meant to be.
It’s sad to grow up and say goodbye to our childhoods. It’s sad to see our goals change and see our old hobbies and interests gather dust. It might not matter too much now, but it mattered to you at one point and that’s the important thing. The things we used to want, our old goals and hopes and dreams, were the axis of our whole lives.
Don’t let yourself get down about growing up and changing. The person you are now is probably exactly who you wanted to be four or five or six years ago. The life you have now, although you might feel unfulfilling or not quite where you need to be, might have seemed so exciting when you were younger. We owe it to our past selves to remember that.
Teenagers With Experience is an online platform ran by teenagers for teenagers. We provide support through sharing our own experiences and providing advice based from this. If you need support, feel free to reach out to us on one of our social media platforms. We will do our best to support you and if we feel we cannot we will direct you to more suited, professional support.