What it means to be a teenager

You know those nights when your brain seems incapable of switching off, and you have about a million different thoughts flying around your head, making it an ever bigger challenge to actually fall asleep? I experience this a lot of the time, with random memories flooding into my thoughts, and the other night this very thing happened. One memory in particular has had me thinking about it ever since...

When I was around six or seven years old, I went to Rainbows. (For those who don't know what that is, it's the youngest section of Girl Guiding in the UK - it starts off with Rainbows, then goes to Brownies, and then Guides). One particular day, we were asked about what scared us, and whilst everybody else were saying the typical and somewhat expected answers, such as spiders, heights and fireworks, I said 'teenagers'.

I'm not going to lie, when I remembered this in the early hours of the morning on Monday night, I couldn't help but laugh to myself. I mean, I'm seventeen years old now and I am possibly the least scariest person you will ever meet. When thinking about why I would've replied with that answer many moons ago, I can't help but be certain that the 'teenagers' I was thinking about were the ones that the media represents our generation to be like. The stereotypical skinheads who are up to no good, who hang around in groups and whom you would most definitely avoid walking down alleyways in the dark, in fear of bumping into.

Like my younger self, so many other people are scared of us. Older people forget that they too were a teenager once, and they probably went through exactly the same things that we are currently going through at this moment. Ask yourself this, how many times have you smiled at an old person and they've looked at you in shock, either completely surprised that you have actually smiled at them, or frozen in fear that you are about to cause trouble? I know it's certainly happened to me on a few occasions.

Teenagers are either represented as irresponsible, or completely responsible. We are currently being pressured into making decisions that will heavily influence our future - for example, either choosing what subject we are going to study, or choosing what university that we want to go to - yet up until the later years of our teens, we are not allowed to vote. We are allowed to drive a car, yet (legally) we aren't allowed to consume alcohol. We usually do exactly the same jobs that people over the age of eighteen do, yet we are paid less than they are, and public transport (I'm mainly referring to trains here) into the nearest city (Manchester) costs more than our hourly wage. We're stereotyped as being lazy, yet are studying for the hardest exams we will possibly ever have to take alongside having a part time job and maintaining an existing social life.

I can't help but get angry about how much we are downplayed and negatively judged - both in the media, and also within society itself. Although we are repeatedly told that 'these days will be the best days of your life', sometimes it definitely doesn't feel like it.

But don't get me wrong, sometimes there's days when I wish that I could stay this age forever. There's things that we take for granted at this age -like having a roof over our heads, people looking out for us, a cooked meal every night, our laundry being done for us. We don't have to worry about mortgages, about taxes, or whether our monthly income is enough to afford to feed our family.

Responsibility and commitment are concepts that scare me. I know that when the time comes, I'll be ready for all of that, but I'm not rushing for it to happen. When we're younger, we're always in such a rush to grow up and once we do, we would give anything to be young again.

Being a teenager definitely has it's cons - mood swings, negative stereotyping and not being able to have a say in things that will massively affect our future (*cough* brexit *cough*), yet it also has it's pros - seeing your best friends every day, not being inundated with constant responsibilities and the hope and excitement for the future that we will go on to have.

Many people around me seem to be in such a rush to grow up, and (obviously) that's completely fine - each to their own and all that jazz - but I definitely want this time to last for as long as it possibly can. When 7th April comes around and I turn eighteen, I might feel different then, but I know that right now I'm enjoying being young - and if you want to call me immature, then that's completely fine by me.

Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next week!

Grace x

p.s. I keep meaning to mention this in my posts, but my gorgeous friend Scarlett has a new blog which is AMAZING!! You can find it here 


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