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Difficulty

I get why teenagers (and even preteens) complain about the difficulty of life and why they are so bloody angsty. Yes, their problems are minuscule and overblown and, yes, they're entitled little [email protected]#$s that don't know true hardship, but it's an age where you suddenly feel all of life's difficult emotions, such as social pressure, identity and conformity, all on top of a flurry of sex hormones and puberty. Then, they're all lobbed in together in a construct known as "high school" where they inevitably reenact the Lord of the Flies. It is both the singular most cruel and laughable period in anyone's life.

Unless you're well equipped with the emotional, social and biological tools to navigate the storm, it's a long and difficult ride. It makes me wonder about people who never really had the resources to overcome difficult emotions from the beginning, those whose childhoods were so derailed that they had no chance when the teens hit... and more narcissistically, myself.

There's been a lot of denial of the years. A lot of daydreaming. And it started real early. Unfortunately, you can't shut down one emotion without shutting down unintended ones. When you dull out the pain of rejection or shame, for instance, you lose some of your ability to feel certain pleasures or joy.

One could say that children are at the whim of difficult emotions unless taught otherwise... still... there is always choice and it does play a role in all of this. Perhaps actual decision making doesn't really happen until the pre-frontal cortex is fully developed (around 22 or 23 years of age). It's the thing that allows you to make rational decisions in spite of overwhelming impulse and emotion. You want to chug half a mickey? Well, the five seconds of approval doesn't weigh well against projectile vomiting on the girl you like, no matter how appealing the former and how much you can "totally avoid" the latter.

With it, I have begun to sort through that pile of denied, mishandled or blatantly ignored mistakes and errors on my part, as well as reconcile the more difficult emotions like shame, anger, fear, anxiety and despair. With each success, I unlock a feature of my emotional landscape, but there are many still left untouched.

That's not to say that life was brutal or unforgiving. There were times I was granted the opportunities to have features of a normal life and yet I still chose to wander a path adjacent, to remain a vagrant without being exiled. But now, thanks to my fully mature brain, I now have a rudder. I can now return to the path most traveled and perhaps find comfort and familiarity where there was only uncertainty.

It's a strange phase of life to be in.

Comments

I think it's one of life's greatest myths is that one is ever truly 'grown up'. It's treated largely as a tool to damn those who DON'T conform, even when they finally gain the rudder you were talking about. (Which, by the way is a beautiful use of metaphor in my opinion and I may very well steal it.) My mother is going to turn fifty this year, but watches some children's movies because she enjoys them. 'Adulthood' I've found so far at the meager age of twenty seven, is largely the time when one can do as you say and start to choose truly what you want. It's not easy, in fact, it's so painful that it could break the unprepared. In fact, it often does. Yet, for those who can be willing to grow past what was, there's a greater world out there for them. I truly want to believe that.
 
Some very good observations. Glad for your show of understanding for me (I'm 16) and others in and around my age. ^_^

While in your experience it may be a blessing to finally travel the more worn path, it makes me wonder if there comes a point where one must forge their own. I think so, to some extent.

EDIT: And another thing I thought of. Every year younger and younger generations are starting to act like teenagers. Or at least, it seems that way from my experience. I see these new typical sub-urban white mothers with their kids at Starbucks who are already wearing the Ugg boots and other trendy clothes. They have iPhone 6 Pluses or whatever they're up to, and they're like eight-ish years old. Talk like prissy teen girls. Complete lack of respect, expect everything to be theirs and "now" not "later".

Not to mention all the middle-schoolers getting into drugs and alcohol.

I just gotta' wonder why.
 
Ephemeral_One - In the midst of social pressures and expectations (most of which are bull), there’s a lot of petty notions one can entertain. Some treat it as a race and constantly compare themselves to their neighbours, while some try “to become more enlightened/knowledgeable then you are” (particularly hipsters).
Walking the honest path is the most difficult. There is no clear benefit for doing so.
“… beautiful use of metaphor in my opinion and I may very well steal it.”
Eh, feel free. It wasn’t really mine to begin with. :D
“Yet, for those who can be willing to grow past what was, there's a greater world out there for them. I truly want to believe that.”
As do I. There are a lot of pitfalls along the way. May we embrace suffering sincerely and know what life actually is.

Smith -
You’re only sixteen? Yesh…
Well, if you ever make it to twenty, I will have to give you with a non-material award for making it through the slow, long ride through hormonal hell. For now, I’ll give you the “Thanks for Not Giving Into the Mass Psychosis… for now…” award for at least trying to be a decent human being during these years :D
Eventually, one must sincerely ask if he or she is not traveling the worn path because they believe they can find their own way, or because, on some level, they thought they were unable to meet the pressures and demands of a conventional one (of which there are many and not all of them make sense…).

I don’t get it either, mostly because I try to avoid those places because they are so bizarre. My best guess is that it’s a concentrating cesspool of suburban boredom and entitlement. It a scary thought when you realized that those who grew up in that environment have had children of their own… and so on and so forth.

The nightmare’s real.
 

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Guy Faukes
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