I often look back fondly at my teenager years, and remember how the world used to feel back then. In reality, life is often quite different to how we see things as teenagers. Here are some of the things that people learn once they ‘grow up’.
1. You never really grow up – adults don’t always feel like adults
You think once someone turns 21 they suddenly feel like an adult? The truth is that we never feel like adults. We may grow older, but we still don’t have all the answers. Your parents may seem confident and know what they are doing, but I guarantee they wonder each day whether they are raising you correctly, making the right decisions, etc. Even they wish they could go to their mummy for a hug sometimes!
2. You’ll still be figuring yourself out for years to come
There is no age that will suddenly give you all the answers. You will still be working out who you are in your thirties, fifties and seventies. You’ll still be wondering ‘what if…’ as you compare your current situation to where you would be had you made every past decision differently. As time goes on, you learn more about yourself, but you never really get to a point of completely understanding yourself. And that’s OK!
3. It never happens like it does in porn
As I wrote in The 7 Realities of Gay Sex, real life sex is very rarely like what you see in porn. When you end up having sex with your loving partner, it is not always going to be hours of perfect sex covering all possible positions in one night. Sure, sex will be great, fun, and generally amazing. But don’t expect it to work out perfectly every time – it’s OK if it doesn’t. And don’t expect it to be like it is in the porn movies.
4. Relationships are hard!
Relationships are where you learn all about yourself – even more than you learn about your partner. You are going to have to learn to communicate, adapt, and compromise. These are all things that don’t come naturally to people.
But as hard as they are, you must enjoy every aspect of them. Celebrate every relationship, because you are learning something new every day.
5. Your break-up is not the end of the world
I know, I know – it feels like the person who just left you was ‘the one’ and you have just lost your soul mate. But eventually you will realise that person wasn’t quite right for you when you meet the next guy. We go through a number of relationships until we find the right one. That’s because we have to learn about ourselves before we can be truly successful in a relationship.
6. Not everyone will accept you
You will always find someone who disagrees with you, someone who can’t accept you for who you are. Sometimes these are friends, sometimes they are family. And this can be especially hard, as we all want to be accepted. Being gay does not help the problem either. But the trick here is to focus on those who do accept you. Don’t let others tarnish the view that you have of yourself. You need to accept yourself as you are!
7. Loving yourself is important
As a teenager, you become infatuated with others: with the boy next door, with fashion and media icons, with your friends. But you tend to neglect yourself. You’ll realise that in order to be successful at anything, whether it is your career or your relationship, you need to love and appreciate yourself. And this means loving your strengths and accepting your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, but you should focus on your strengths, as these will lead you to success.