Here are the rest of the “instructions”, more ways to overcome the obstacles, I sincerely hope! If you have any to add, let me know. I’d hate to be missing things out. Now without further ado...
3) Realise that nothing lasts forever.
I know it gets said a lot and can be difficult, but it’s true. A lady in my community celebrated her 100th birthday recently, and it really got me thinking. There must have been moments in her life when she thought it was literally the end of the world, when something happened that she knew she could never get over... and there she was, years later, surrounded by her great grandchildren and blowing out candles on a birthday cake with everything forgotten. I’m sure you remember back when you were seven or eight years old and something just awful happened and you knew you’d never live it down or get over it. Think about how silly it seems now and realise that whatever it is that’s getting to you at the moment will feel just as insignificant in a decade. You’ll remember your happiness more than your downfalls. From now on when I’m hung up on something, I just think forward to when I’m an old lady and wonder, will this really matter? Probably not.
About a year and a half ago I was feeling very sorry for myself a rather large proportion of the time. I thought something had to be wrong—I was a teenager, yes, but should I be feeling like this quite so often? So I decided to make a list of everything that was getting me down. It worked—I felt better after putting it all out of my brain and on paper. Interestingly enough, I found the list a couple of weeks ago. It’s no exaggeration to say that every single item on the list had either gone away, or I simply didn’t care about it anymore.
4) Don’t worry about what people think.
When people say this to me, it seems like the easiest thing in the world. Why indeed should I care? Yet we all find ourselves at some point or another wondering if we made the right decision or if people are judging us for it. Ultimately, it can stop us from doing what we love. Perhaps you want to join a club but are afraid of being laughed at. We’ve all been there. Wolf and I were talking the other day about a book club which has been started in our school. Any time it’s mentioned, people laugh. I suppose this is because it’s “nerdy” or “uncool”... or because they struggle with reading, I don’t know. Wolf’s reaction was: “It’s funny, I kind of thought we were past that.” Well, perhaps not everyone else is, but you can be. Maybe people haven’t grown out of judging you yet, but that’s their issue. You’re perfectly able to grow out of caring.
5) Don’t mould yourself.
I should probably clarify that I’m not referring to leaving yourself out of the fridge so long that mushrooms and green powdery stuff start growing on you... What I mean is, don’t try too hard to fit into a particular mould. It’s obvious that trying too hard to be “cool” is a happiness-killer, but that’s also the case for trying too hard to be different, which I see a lot of these days. Anyone who tells you there are rules about what music to listen to, what clothes to wear, what book to read and even what people to talk to are probably suffering from severe burns around the bottom area because their PANTS ARE ON FIRE. Do NOT listen to these people. All teenagers are just making the rules up as they go along, and nobody’s version is more important than anyone else’s. Follow your heart, do what you find interesting and it’s a lot easier to be happy.
But you didn’t need me to tell you that. Right?