Yesterday I turned 16 and, even though I expressly asked my friends to write “Happy 61st birthday!” on my cake because that’s how old I feel I actually am, I recognise myself that 16 is such a small number; yet, I believe that, in this relatively brief period of my existence, quite a lot of both negative and positive events have occured and they’ve made me wise enough to list 16 things I’ve learnt over my 16 years of life. Enjoy!
- Polite and kind is what all human beings should aspire to be in order for us all to live in a better place. Careful: that’s often confused with being stupid and naïve. It’s up to you to prove the people who think so wrong.
- Whenever you get a panic attack, go and seek the nearest ventilated area (your room window, your balcony, even down the street if you can’t find anything like that). Take several deep breaths, as many as you need, and put your hand above your chest. You want to feel your heart slowing down; you want to be reminded you’re alive.
- Never gossip about somebody with someone you’ve heard speaking ill of others. They’ll do the same about you. You know what, just don’t badmouth in general. It’s not elegant nor useful and will just create uncomfortable and regrettable situations.
- This is the following point of what I said before: don’t answer questions you’re not asked. (“Ugh, have you looked at her jumper? It’s awful. Why does she dress like that? Doesn’t she look at herself in the mirror?” is something I’ve actually heard with my own ears and the person who said it made it even more embarassing because it came out of the blue. For sure, I didn’t ask her what her thoughts about that girl’s jumper were because I DIDN’T & DON’T CARE. Stop talking already, for Christ’s sake).
- Let people talk about their feelings. If they’ve chosen you to be their listener, it’s because whether they do trust you or they are overwhelmed by negative vibes and emotions and need to let them out. However, it needs to be said that if you realise they’re taking too long, it’s okay for you to gently interrupt the conversation. You’re not their therapist.
- Always report what you are stolen to the police. Maybe that bike of yours you didn’t find at the parking station will never be found again, but it’s essential for you to respect the law and tell the authorities about your robbery. Omerta is what will kill us.
- Be very careful about the love you’re able to give and get. Offering even a little more love than what you receive creates non-reciprocal situations and, if your love is sincere, they might be fatal for you. Therefore, try to always balance the affection, otherwise you’ll just end up disappointed and heart-broken.
- You’ve got the right to change in order to be the best and most complete version of yourself; you don’t have to hold on to an image of your past self you don’t identify with anymore; and don’t ever care about those people who say stuff like: “You’ve changed” in a negative tone, “I don’t know who you are anymore”, “that’s not the person I used to know”, “believe me, that’s not who you are”.
- Go screw yourselves.
- Life hasn’t got a point: you establish its meaning, which corresponds to your goals. My goal is to be remembered because I want to do something great for the mankind. We’ll see. Fingers crossed!
- Best tea I’ve ever drunk (and what I always make myself): gray tea + a sip of vanilla-flavoured soy milk + 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Truly worth a try.
- Poetry and music are what save me and my blue soul, at the end of day. Get yourself something (something, not someone) which allows you to make whatever heavy burden you may have to carry on your shoulders, weigh a little less.
- Don’t be afraid of your talent, of showing it and let it be a consistent part of your daily life. Careful: show it, don’t show off about it. Stay humble (your work will be double appreciated!). Also, be aware that you can always improve yourself because, as we say in Southern Italy, “nessuno nasce imparato” (“no one is born knowing anything”). Careful: don’t overvalue yourself. Know your limits.
- That’s the following point of what I said before: be a sponge, absorb every notion you can. Don’t presume to know everything, because you don’t. Be curious, be hungry for knowledge.
- Your mental issues don’t define you. What defines you is how you manage, if you manage, to fight your demons.
- You don’t hurt who you love. Ever, in any circumstances. May you be a significant other, a best friend, a relative. If you willingly and conscientiously hurt somebody, you don’t and probably have never loved the person you’ve hurt.
- It may take days, months or years, but if life carries away something or someone from you, it’ll give you another reason to stay. Briefly: after belabouring and truly beating the soul out of you, it’ll show you the proper ways to get back in the game.
This was my bullet list for the most important and general-wise points I believe life has taught me over my 16 years. Let’s hope next year I’ll be able to point out 17 different ones (because simply adding one is way too easy!)
And now, let me conclude with some lyrics of one of my favourite songs ever, which I’ve found extremely ispirational lately:
“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race!” – That’s life, Frank Sinatra