Healthy Soul/Lessons Learned/My Life/Teen Life 4 Ways To Transform Your Teen Years by Emily Pellarin I remember the day I turned 13. My whole family came over to my house for a party and I locked myself in my room. Part of me was excited to be a teenager: to go to high school, learn how to drive a car, go to LIfe Teen, and become more independent. But another part of me, the part of me that wanted to hide in my room, was terrified. I did eventually come out to open presents and eat cake after a couple renditions of “Happy Birthday” and started living my teenage life. It wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought. Looking back on my teenager years, here is the advice I wish I could have given myself on my 13th birthday: Make Memories There are so many opportunities to make memories that last a lifetime as a teenager. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and enjoy life. Go to the dance with that cute guy or girl that asks you. Sign up for that summer trip. Go on that retreat. Stay up and have those deep conversations about life. Play glow and the dark ultimate frisbee at midnight. Spend time with your family. Try out for that play or sports team. You’ll never wish you had spent more time watching Netflix instead of living life. Forgive Your relationships with your family and friends will change a lot in your teenage years. You will say things you wish you could take back and so will the people around you. Don’t torture yourself holding grudges or needing to get back at everyone who was mean to you. Not everyone will apologize. Don’t wait until someone asks to forgive them. The hurt was real, but holding on to anger only hurts you more. If that is really hard don’t be afraid to find a parent, mentor, youth minister, or counselor to help you let it go… Stand Up If you are passionate about serving the poor, or the Pro-Life movement, or human trafficking, or even recycling, do something about it. Organize a canned good drive at your Church, organize a mission trip, host a speaker at your school, join the recycling club. Don’t be afraid to defend your beliefs about morality and religion, either. When someone offers you a drink or drugs at a party, it’s okay stand up and say no. If someone is Jesus bashing, it’s okay to respectfully disagree and share how much Jesus means to you. It can be hard to do at first, but standing up for what you believe in is powerful. Your voice, your drive, your commitment can be a force of change in the world. Get to Know God There is so much that changes in your teenage years including you… why not get to know God who created you, knows you perfectly, and has a fantastic plan for your life? Let God be the constant in your life in the midst of all the changes of your teenage years. God is a person, treat Him like He’s a person. Make time in your life to get to know Him. Go to Mass. Hang out at youth group. Find other friends who want to get know God, too. Get yourself to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Join a Bible study. Start a Bible study. Ask a holy person you know to coffee, and ask them about their faith. Listen to praise and worship while you do your homework. Pray for 10 minutes every day when you wake up and before you go to bed. Tell God about your day on the way to class. Find a way to connect to God and do it! Being a teenager is doable, even if it can seem overwhelming sometimes. Know that you are never alone, everyone here at LIfe Teen is praying for you.