Things I Wish I Had Done in My Teens

6:00:00 PM

A while ago, before I even started this blog, I read a post titled 9 Things I Wish I’d Done as a Teenager; and since I’ve started this blog, I’ve wanted to write a similar piece.
I’ve especially been reflecting back on my teen years, with each additional diagnosis. I’m remembering the things that I took for granted and the things that I’m missing the most now. As well as the backlash from some of those things.
In just a few days, I’ll be turning the big 2-1! Luckily, I’m realizing these things earlier than most and I can attempt to work on them again. So hopefully, I won’t be writing a “What I Wish I had Done in My Twenties” blog post.

I wish I had continued piano
I honestly miss piano. It was something I loved so much as a kid. I remember my piano teacher writing the keys on the top of my fingers so I could easily play and read the lines in the book. I even had a few elementary school recitals. I don’t remember if the piano teacher moved or if we couldn’t afford it anymore, but I really do wish I had continued to play piano.
Lesson learned: Don’t give up the things you’re passionate about!

I wish I didn’t try so hard to fit in
I realize now that a majority of the friends we make in school don’t actually stick around. And trying to fit in with the popular kids in school isn’t always the best idea. I dealt a lot with bullying as a kid and for some reason I thought that if I got those kids to like me, the bullying might stop. Looking back now, that was a pretty stupid idea. The only thing that would have led to is a couple invites here and there and then the hurtful things would be said behind my back instead of to my face. It’s the friends that stood by me throughout my school years that still stand by me today.
Lesson learned: Spend time with the people that matter the most.

I wish I didn’t take life so seriously
When I look back, I realize I didn’t have a lot of fun. I was either participating in a school activity, doing school work, or working. I did anything and everything I possibly could have done to build my resume and get a scholarship to college. At one point, I was in 15 after school activities, a varsity sport, and I was working three jobs. Does that sound normal to you? No! I did all of that to get into a school I didn’t really like, only to find out later that college wasn’t for me. I wish I had learned this sooner. I didn’t have time for my friends and that is what bothers me the most. I probably should have gotten the hint when they kidnapped me from my parent’s house, but that’s a story for a different day.
Lesson learned: Make time for yourself, your friends, and for fun.

I wish I had gone a little crazy
This one kind of piggybacks of the last one. You might not believe me, but I have honestly never tasted alcohol, smoked a cigarette, or done any type of drugs. Yup, you read that right. Take all the time you need to let that soak in. I’m almost 21 and I haven’t done anything the kids my age were doing. Now, please don’t take that message as me condoning any of those things. I don’t recommend them, but as my supervisor once said, “you do you.” I’m about to turn 21 and like most, I’d like to order myself a drink. Unfortunately, that won’t be happening. I’m on so many medications for my chronic illnesses that I can almost guarantee there would be a horrible reaction. That’s why I wish I had gone a little crazy and got a little drunk when I was a teenager.
Lesson learned: Do something spontaneous!

I wish I hadn’t taken so many things for granted
It’s only now that I am limited by my illnesses, that I realize how much I truly took for granted. I’m not upset that I have trouble doing them now, but I’m upset that I didn’t appreciate them while I was able to do them. For example, I used to hate taking a shower. It wasn’t that I wanted to be gross, I just didn’t physically want to do it, nor did I want to take away the time I could spend doing something else. Now I’m lucky if I can manage to take a shower on my own. I have to take a snack and a glass of water in there with me so I can make it through the entire shower. Sometimes I even have to stop halfway through and just sit on the cold tile. I honestly wish I could go back and time just to do all of the things I took for granted: running the mile, curling my hair, weightlifting practice, the presidential fitness test, anything and everything that I once complained about.
Lesson learned: Appreciate the things your body is capable of doing and don’t be so hard on yourself for the things it can’t do.

I wish I took Spanish more seriously.
Like most high schools require, I had to take two semesters of the same foreign language. Thinking Spanish would be most helpful in Florida, that’s what I signed up for. I managed to get an A in Spanish 1, 2, and 3. The only problem was that I wasn’t studying it to learn it, I was studying it to ace the test. Now almost 5 years later, I don’t remember anything from those classes except for a few obvious words and some inappropriate phrases. I basically wasted the time I had to learn a second language. It gradually gets harder to learn an additional language the older you get, so now I would have to try even harder to relearn everything I once knew and then, of course, I’d have to learn everything else in that language in order to speak it fluently.
Lesson learned: Study to remember what you learned in class, otherwise you're wasting your time, the teacher’s time, and sometimes even money.

I wish I had taken better care of my teeth
I know this isn’t 100% my fault, due to the constant back and forth between insurance companies, but I’m still partly responsible. I was never that kid to brush and floss twice a day, but I wish I would have been. I was always told I had great teeth and I only needed braces if I wanted them. I should have taken them up on that offer. My dentist says I’ve still got teeth others would kill for, but I’m not happy with them. I wish I had gotten braces when I was younger and I wish I had put more effort into finding an A+ dentist with an A+ hygienist. Since I didn’t, my gums have been torn up and they still haven’t healed after almost three years. This is one of the things I wish I had done most, maybe then I wouldn’t currently have appointments scheduled with a dentist, an orthodontist, a periodontist, and an oral and facial surgery center.
Lesson learned: Research all of your doctors and if something doesn’t feel right, speak up!

I wish I had appreciated my body more
I know this is easier said than done, what teenage girl is really happy with their body? I was on the short side, but people said that I should model. I was a size 0 that still thought I was too big. Then came around my first chronic illness and I became a size 4. The first medication didn’t work and I became a size 8. Tack on a handful of other illnesses and now I’m almost double that, and I’m still unhappy with my weight. I can’t help but think of how dumb I was as a teen. I was able to eat whatever I wanted and I never went over 105 pounds. It’s sad that I only realized this now, when I could have been so much happier back then. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to accept my body and to cherish it.
Lesson learned: Your body is going to change continuously, try your best to accept its changes.
I didn’t necessarily write this post to talk about my regrets. I wrote it for the readers that need a little bit of advice or a nice wake up call. I’m incredibly happy with the choices I’ve made that have led to the life I’m now living. It wasn’t my choices that led to my chronic illnesses, they were just part of God’s plan for me. And I don’t 100% think I would say I regret these things either, I just think there are some things I should have done more or less of in my teens.
I hope that this post has helped some of my readers out there. No matter what age you are, just remember to keep your chin up, love your body, spend time with the people that matter, and follow your passions.
Looking back, what’s something you wish you could change from your past?

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