We all did dumb stuff as teens. The dumb stuff we did is varied, but we did it.
Those were different times. Now we're older and we have bills and responsibilities and jobs. Back then, we thought we had the weight of the world on our shoulders. But really, we had some pretty basic responsibilities. Did we neglect them?
What would you do differently?
Here were some of those answers.
A Little More Work, A Little Less EffortGiphy
I was lazy in school despite being smart. It worked out fine but had I applied myself I could have gotten scholarships and stayed out of student loan debt.
I stayed in relationships way too long. Terrible people to date and I was worried being alone was worse than being miserable with someone. That's not the case.
Less Dwelling On Being Awkward
It took me 25 years to realize that cognitive dissonance is a cruel b*tch. Your brain tends to remember all the awkward or embarrassing things, but other people will not recognize or will forget about those things within 24 hours.
Once you truly understand that, things like public speaking, asking someone out on a date, and saying no to peer pressure is exponentially easier.
As Long As We Learn
I regret not trying. I had zero work ethic and got by just by being kinda smart. I smoked too much weed, drank like it was a competition, skipped school a lot. I regret not participating in things, not taking a chance with girls for fear of rejection, and pining over one in particular. I regret taking myself too seriously to the point where fun wasn't cool.
I also regret not getting surgery on my elbow so I could continue playing baseball. It was the one thing I worked hard at and was good at and should've continued to play.
I've learned from these regrets over the course of the years and am at a place in life where, while these are regrets, they do not haunt me.
Just Like History
I believed the lie that is "you have to choose only one pursuit." We get this idea that the only way to be successful in our careers is to become singular experts in one thing.
That's not true. You can pursue two things at once. You can pursue more than two things. Success is non-linear.
High School Really DOES End
I used to care so much about what the people I was seeing everyday thought about me, now they're all off living their lives doing who knows what and definitely don't remember any minor things I would panic over. I feel like it's still something I struggle with now, but man I wish I would have reached out more, stepped out of my comfort zone, stuck my ground and stood up for my beliefs.
A Simpler Dichotomy
Not being more social in high school! Even if you don't like it, you'll have to learn those skills at some point if you want to get anywhere so you may as well.
Related, I shouldn't have believed in the cliques. Jocks vs nerds vs band vs skaters, rap vs pop vs country vs rock. The only thing that matters in the real world is "*sshole vs nice", as far as these things go. (Exception, if hanging out with someone will get you imprisoned, addicted to drugs, or unexpectedly pregnant, may want to rethink that friendship. ) There were several people I met again later and I realized we could have, should have been friends, and others whose behavior (viewed from adulthood) was super d***y and I should have avoided them when I was younger.
Tokyo Is Cooler Than Having Money Anyway
I regret not having more fun. I was pretty focused on doing well in school and being prepared for university so I turned down a lot of opportunities to do some neat sh*t. Our senior trip was to Japan and I dropped out last minute to save the money. I was still broke af at uni so I should have just gone.
Mom And Dad Are Jerks Too
Letting my free spirit go in my late teens. I made decent grades to start high school, but they weren't anything great. I spent a lot of time at parties and over at friends' houses. One night my parents came upstairs and tore me a new one. They knew I was smarter than that, and they were right. I took the convo to heart and responded. I turned down more social gatherings. I made straight A's my junior/senior year and got 5s on the AP exams.
Got into engineering school and here I am working on a PhD. It never would have happened if they didn't come upstairs that night. BUT... I have trouble putting myself out there. I have a hard time with interviews, dating, socializing, and enjoying myself. Real world sh*t kind of kicks my *ss. I'm just good at classes and solving equations.
At the start of high school I never had social problems or anxiety issues. What would have happened if I had never listened? I probably would have ended up just going to the little college in my town. Nothing special. I would've obtained a decent degree and worked a 9-5 50K salary job. I would've had a decent house and a car that runs. I would've been able to enjoy myself, get myself out there, and make friends. Sometimes I wonder if I ever should've listened.
It's MY LifeGiphy
I regret letting my father pressure me into doing sports instead of doing drama. I burned so many hours doing something that I absolutely hated just to make him happy. High school means absolute jack in the long run unless you are absolutely dead set on a highly competitive college right after you graduate. Don't let your parents live through you, they had their shot. As long as what you choose to do does not hurt you or anyone else, then do it. Have the courage that I didn't have to tell them what you want to do. Live YOUR life, not theirs.
Losing Those Years
I regret not having the correct information for my mental and physical health. I was a wreck with undiagnosed food sensitivities, hormonal imbalance, hypermobility, and obsessive thought patterns/depression.
It should have been a happy time in my life, but instead I was all kinds of broken on top of the normal crippling self-doubt of the teenage years. My parents had no idea how to deal with it, and it took me the better part of a decade to find some answers for myself.