Someday, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere. A berm overlooking a pond in Vermont. The lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. A seat on the subway. And something bad will have happened: You will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something which you badly wanted to succeed. And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you. And if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be. I don’t want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that tells you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” It’s never too early, either. Anna Quindlen, Being Perfect
Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realisation that you may have been born in the wrong country. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white t-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps. Travel is wishing for one more bite of whatever that just was. It’s the rediscovery of walking somewhere. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is “Maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.” Nick Miller, Isn’t It Pretty To Think So?
My whole life I’ve been telling myself, ‘don’t be afraid’. And it is only now that I’m realising how stupid that is—don’t be afraid. Like saying, ‘don’t move out of the way when someone tries to punch you’ or ‘don’t flinch at the heat of fire’ or ‘don’t blink’. Don’t be human. I’m afraid and you’re afraid and we’re all always going to be afraid, because that’s the point. What I should be telling myself is ‘be afraid, but do it anyway’. Live anyway. Unknown
To romanticise the world is to make us aware of the magic, mystery and wonder of the world; it is to educate the senses to see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the mundane as sacred, the finite as infinite. Novalis
Don’t worry so much about what others think or say about you. The older you get, the less you give a damn about what people think. We tend to get to get so caught up in the opinions of others, when really, they have absolutely no power over your life unless you give it. Life is so fluid, so exciting, so changeable – just like you. Wear what you want to wear, say what’s on your mind, be whoever you want to be and let them talk.
Enjoy your teenage years as much as you can. The memories you create in your teenage years are the ones you will look back on when you are older and think, “Damn, that was fun.” Make it worth looking back on – stay out until the sunrise, have late night rendezvous with friends, laugh and dance and cry as much as you can. You are young and wild, and these are the years where you can (almost) get away with anything.
You don’t have to have it all figured out. There tends to be a lot of pressure to follow a certain linear path in life: university, career, marriage and then children. However, while that works for some, a lot of people find that this is not the trajectory for them – and that is okay! Some of the most interesting, successful and inspiring people in life are still figuring things out and willingly admit that they don’t have their shit together (no one does). There is no end destination, no final frontier; the happiness is all in the journey.
Nurture friendships with people who are positive, loyal and loving. You’re going to meet people who will betray your trust, use you and take advantage of what you have to give. Be thankful for those people because, even if they have hurt you, they have taught you the power of true friendship and loyalty. The people who stick with you through the hard times, uplift you when you are feeling down and believe the best in you when you are at your worst are those you need to invest in. Keep them close to your heart – they are your lifeline.
Invest in self-love before looking for a relationship. It gets said often, but one of the most important relationships in life is the one you have with yourself. Don’t pine or seek out romantic love if you don’t yet love yourself. Learn to be comfortable alone, take yourself on dates, travel solo (even if it’s just the next city over), and fall in love with you are. You learn your value, worth and beauty when you know what is truly at stake, and that can only come through self-care.
Things won’t always be so bad. It may be that things are so dark that it seems it will be like that forever. This is not true. Your life is a work in progress – it is constantly changing along with the feelings and people in it. Sometimes, things happen that will exceed your wildest dreams. Sometimes, you will cry because your heart is so full of joy. Sometimes, someone will tell you that they love you and you will believe it. There are days to come where you will be glad you held on despite how sad and broken you feel. Which leads me on to the next point…
The best is yet to come. Never would I have imagined when I was a teenager the amazing things that were to come. The most happiest and life-altering experiences all happened outside of my teenage years, and I’m so glad I held on for them. There is so much for you to see and do. There are endless possibilities for you to explore, hundreds of countries for you to travel to and plenty of people to meet and fall in love with – and the best thing is, you are only just getting started.