Dear Teenagers, I Promise IT Won’t Be Like This Forever

When I reflect on my life and wish that I could go back and change things such as a previous friend, a boyfriend, or a situation that I would handle differently, I realize that these are the people and the things that helped mold me into the person that I am today.

Your Friendships

There are some friends that hold a special place in your heart such as those that you met in high school, but some of these people will probably not end up being in your day-to-day lives in your future. You may keep in touch with them, but you will meet so many new people in college, in your future jobs and in your day-to-day life that have better wishes for you and your family. These high school friendships seem so important in our teenage years, but relationships can certainly change, especially during high school. Believe it or not some people will grow after high school although some people will remain EXACTLY THE SAME! After the first couple of reunions that I attended, I was secretly hoping that I would see a couple of friends that I had not seen since high school (Michelle Thibodeaux and Jenelle Johnson, I’m looking for you)! These reunions proved what I had thought those many years ago; the people that you do not fit in with in high school ARE NOT YOUR PEOPLE.

Observe everything that you can from everyone that you meet, and treat every experience as a learning experience. Take what you learn at home as your foundation but remain open to learning different strategies, different behaviors, and different traditions so that you can incorporate them into your future. I spent a lot of time with my friends’ families in high school and learned a lot of things that my family did not practice because my parents grew up in a different country, so I took the things that I loved from their families and tucked them away for when I would have my own family.

Some of my best friends to this day are those that I met during and after college. To this day, one of my best friends is the nicest person that you will ever meet, and we met in 2003, when I was 23, and she was 40. We became instant friends despite our age difference because we love each other and have so much to share; she’s one of those friends that when we meet for dinner, 3 hours is never enough. In fact, it sometimes feels like we are in the movie Freaky Friday as my children are now at the ages that I met her children. I like to think that she paved the way for my family by teaching me the intricacies of motherhood; how to be a mother to my children in this country, where to put the gaming system in our house, along with many sacrifices that are needed to ensure our children’s success. She has three successful children in heart, mind, and soul and I can only hope that mine follow suit.

Your Mental Health

Even though high school feels like your whole world and your future, it is just a stepping stone for what comes next in life whether you go to college, learn a trade, or stay home and raise children. Your grades and your ACT scores are important but not as important as your mental health. High school is not easy for anyone even though it seems that some people have everything working in their favor. Stay true to yourself and follow your gut. If you’re at a party and something does not sit right with you, tell your friend that you must go home for a family emergency, get out of there and stay safe. Life is a series of decisions based on your experience, others’ experiences, and your gut reactions.

Your Appearance

Your weight … do not let anyone tell you anything about it because guess what? It’s no one else’s business (especially not your Tias or your Abuelos). I give you permission to tell your nosey family “I do not want to talk about my appearance. Want to talk about what I’m reading?” Are you happy with your weight? Probably not, most people are never truly happy with their weight: breasts are too big or too small, buttocks are too big or too flat, stomach is too big or too flat. I know 60-, 70-, and 80-year-old women who are still worried about their weight, my goodness, please do not let anyone worry about their weight for the rest of their life, PUT THAT STRESSOR down! When I reach my sixties, I hope to play and pray with my grandkids in those years and not to worry if my belly is protruding from my pants (if my labs are good). Do not let your weight hold you back from going to the beach, hanging out with friends, or enjoying Spring Break. Yes, I do worry about my weight because of health issues but I do not let it control my life and neither should you. The one thing that I would like for you to do is to discover what is causing your super vigilant focus on weight … anxiety, depression, unhealthy coping behaviors, etc. Focus on the behaviors not the weight. Talk with your counselors if you need them, they can help you figure these things out. Also, find people who can see your imperfections and who love those imperfections too. There are people at your school that admire certain characteristics about you, those are your people (double points if they stand and clap for your accomplishments).

When Will It Be MY Time?

To say that I am a late bloomer is a huge understatement. I was very much a “like me or leave me” kind of person that I cut my hair down to 2 inches off my head the summer before Freshman year of high school. I was attracted to the jocks and “popular guys” while they did not even know I existed. Maybe this is you. Please know that those that end up marrying their high school sweethearts are few and far between. Some people peak in high school, then it’s all downhill thereafter. Use your high school time to figure out what you want in your future relationships: someone that makes you laugh, someone that likes to dance, someone that enjoys socializing with friends, someone that can play and entertain your little brother or sister, someone that lifts you up when you are down, and someone who is willing to go through the hardest and ugliest times in life together because life is a perpetual roller coaster. Also, this time is about YOU. Take this time to learn all about yourself and what you feel strongly about such as your faith, your extracurriculars, what you want to see in your future. I did not date a lot in high school, but I observed those that were dating and I learned a lot of what I wanted in a spouse and what I did not want. Your person is out there, do not stress; the right person will appear at the right time. Most importantly, you will bloom when it is your time, do not rush it! It took me 40 years but here I am living my best life while some jerks from high school are divorced, overweight and are unattractive. I prefer to be a positive person but the previous sentence had to be said as many people are experiencing their unattractive stage during high school but remember high school is not forever.

In life there is always that feeling of I want to do that over again and do it differently. This is the time, live your life and enjoy it. There is no magic blue or red pill to send us back to a certain time. We must make the most of the lives that we are living now. Live your life so that you can be happy, live your life your way, no regrets!

Last but not least…..when your parents want to give you a trip or a car as a graduation gift ….take the TRIP (Your experiences on this trip will far surpass any computer or car and to be honest, you’ll probably end up getting the car anyway *wink*).

Kathy Magri
Kathy is a Metairie native who lives in River Ridge with her husband, Mike, her children, Finn and Nina, and her 3 pups and a cat, Rex, Beau, Hans & Toula. She enjoys double dating with friends on Friday or Saturday nights and brunching with her girlfriends. A lover of all people (particularly babies and children), she is usually volunteering in various organizations and supporting her children in their extracurricular activities. You may catch her reading about World War II or listening to an assortment of music. An avid traveler, she can be found in her parents’ homeland, San Pedro, Belize, enjoying time with family, snorkeling, riding golf carts around town and eating the best food in the world.


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