Conversation with Your BFF: What I Wish I’d Known in My Teenage Years

When I turned 50, I had a real heart to heart with myself and thought about things I wished I’d known in my teen years. I often fall into the ‘I wish I could go back and know what I know now…I’d do everything different’ mode and it’s never good. If I knew people really didn’t have my best interests, I would’ve stayed away from them; if I’d known certain people were just pretending to be my friends, I would’ve cut them loose long before I did – you get the idea. So, what are some things I wish I’d known earlier in life, that unfortunately had to come from experience? I am so glad I just asked myself!

How Much Do People Really Think of You?

Dr. Phil once said, “If you really knew how little people thought of you, you wouldn’t care so much about what they think.” Basically, you don’t take up as much space in people’s thoughts as you think you do. We suffer more in our own imagination than we do in reality.

What Am I Really Supposed to Take Away from School?

You can get bogged down in learning and not realize much of the purpose of school. I remember going into panic mode when the latest algebra class just didn’t sink in as I thought it should. Looking back, I think school, especially high school, was more about building character than memorizing the periodic tables. You develop your own work ethic in school, your core values develop, what you place value on comes into focus…you often become the you that you’ll spend your life with during high school.

Taking the View from 3000 Feet Gives You Perspective

Lots of the struggles we experience can be made better by looking at it from 3000 feet, figuratively. Remove yourself and try to gain an objective perspective and ask yourself, ‘Will I be stressed about this in 3 weeks? 3 months? How about 3 years?’ Nine out of 10 times, the answer will be, ‘No, it won’t matter!’ Get distance between you and the problem and you’ll see it clearer.

Failure Happens, Pick Yourself Up and Move On!

I had a teacher once tell me, ‘If you didn’t fail, how would you know and appreciate success?’ Put another way, there is no path to success that doesn’t include failure. Tweak your understanding of failure and success will be that much sweeter.

Stay Present and Don’t Live in the Future…It’s Not Guaranteed!

I lived every minute of high school wanting to get out! I loved school and learning, but I wanted to get to college, meet the man of my dreams, and get on with life because I didn’t think I was participating in life then, but I was. Those were precious days to be taken in and enjoyed. Life is really good at convincing us the next season in life is better than this one. I wish I’d known that is a lie, because the next season doesn’t exist and you aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. You have today, so cherish it!

I Need to Know Now What Job I’m Going to Have

In the eleventh grade, I recall talking to my guidance counselor and projecting myself into my 20s, trying to pinpoint exactly what I would do with my life. To say I was stressed is an understatement. I didn’t want to ever disappoint my parents, so I put a lot of pressure on myself. I wish I had known to let go of the desire to have every minute of life figured out.

Stay Clear of Other People’s Drama

There are some people who thrive on drama. I have had friends who say ‘I can’t stand all this drama in my life,’ yet most of it was brought on by themselves. I think life has more depth if you do not wallow in drama. Even if those around you have drama, you don’t have to participate. Be their support and let them know that you are there for them, although you don’t want to get dragged into the situation yourself. You can be there to talk, just not participate in the drama. 


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