Goodbye My Teens: You Were Underwhelming

This November I am no longer a teenager and boy am I glad to move on. As much as I’d like to never look back, I feel that it’s necessary to do an expectation vs. reality assessment of what being a teen really was to me. 


Adults are always telling teens to live their lives to the fullest while they’re still young, which is so counterintuitive considering the fact that you have very little rights as a minor. Your geographic reach heavily depends on how far you can walk, bike, or use public transportation. You have little to no income and limited ways in which you can earn money. 


A Note to Adults 

Telling teens that their time to be happy and have fun is limited only puts more stress and expectation on a very angsty time in everyone’s life. Please, stay in your lane. 

Don’t get me wrong - it wasn’t all bad. I met a lot of great people, had a lot of fun at some times, and I overall appreciate most of what I got out of these past seven or so years. I’m not so much angry at my teenage experience so much as I’m… dissatisfied. It’s just that after all these years I find myself saying, “That’s it? That’s all of it?”


Where was sneaking out of the house with my friends to go do something dumb like drive around until we get bored? Where were those wild parties that are in literally every teen movie ever? Where was the romance that American cinema and young-adult novels promised me my entire life? 

I would have even settled for a few last-minute trips to the beach or the city or even twenty minutes away to Montclair. Instead, I just look back and wonder why none of that ever happened. Maybe it’s because movies, no matter how real they feel, are always staged, and real-life is not. Trying to create a movie moment in real life would feel just as fake as making whatever movie I’d be trying to replicate.


It’s hard to admit, but Hollywood didn’t make a movie about me, about the kind of teenage experience I had. I had a very structured, scheduled, stationary teenage experience. One where I went to lots of afterschool activities and did copious amounts of homework and watched a lot of TV. That doesn’t necessarily make a great movie, but it also doesn’t make a bad teendom. It’s just different than the teendom that I expected, and that’s not my fault. 


Time to Face the Facts: 

I did the best I could, and it wasn’t what I wanted. But there’s a whole new decade ahead of me, with plenty more opportunities to make it what I want, and plenty of time to make it happen. So here’s to my roaring twenties: may they be infinitely better than my teens.