CHAPTER 6 – An Advice to Teenagers

If we lived in a world where time travel was possible, I would travel back to 1983-84 and give the teenage version of myself the advice below. As a teenager you may think that older people forget their youth or lose touch with reality. But what if they don’t?  I know I have not forgotten. I remember it vividly. And I know that I could have avoided losing a very precious part of myself if I had done certain things differently.

I used to see friends of mine dating and having what appeared the be the time of their lives together at parties, on trips, basking in the sun on the beach or riding into the countryside on motorcycle during the long summer days. I wanted that too! Wouldn’t you?

I’m sure you realize that those people I pictured living these happy lives were not always smiling, not always running around on vacation. They obviously had bad days or got into brawls now and then, right? And as you probably know teenage dating and relationships tend to be explosive and subject to lots of change. One of the reasons for this is that everything feels huge, like a big deal, as a teenager in comparison with how it may feel once you get older. An ended relationship is something that would feel bad enough to make an adult cry, but to you, a teenager, it probably feels like no less than the end of the world! I know, I’ve been there!

This is one of the reasons adults seem so obsessed with protecting you from very bad experiences caused by sexual predators (adults who may try to convince you that they are in love with you but are in actuality using you).  You may be curious right now. Perhaps you feel very alone and want to have someone to love just like your friends do. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s very human to feel that way. But there are some very serious dangers you should know about.

I’m going to mention the least talked about and perhaps the most serious invisible danger here. You should take this very seriously.

Your emotional life could be damaged!

What on earth is an “emotional life”, how can it be damaged and who cares?

As a healthy young person you are equipped with something you will need throughout your life and it may help you to remain faithful and loyal in marriage, to love your family through thick and thin and to stand up for and help those in need through empathy with their situation. If your emotional life, that treasure inside of you, is damaged you may have difficulty later in life in human relationships, with honesty and with a host of other important and ethical issues. And this in turn can lead to a spiral of difficulties with others and with life in general, that is, emotional and other problems that feed into themselves and become worse with time.

Precisely because everything seems like a big deal when you are a teenager, the pain of being lied to or used or of constant turmoil in relationships is absolutely horrendous. And if you get involved with the gay life, you will get many times more of it than your heterosexual classmates. Be warned! Accept yourself, but protect yourself and don’t get involved with things that will only bring you problems and remorse, especially when you have your entire life before you.

Some of the typical symptoms of a damaged emotional life are cynicism, cruelty to animals and humans, substance abuse, repetitive lying and sexual addictions.

No pain, lots of gain!

There is absolutely nothing, no proof, no programme, no guru that shows beyond a doubt that you need to have experience with sexual relationships right now! If I could go back to being 15, I would indeed have waited until I was at least 18 or even 20. And I would not have missed anything, save for a lot of unnecessary problems! I can tell you that, because I now have the cliff notes in my hand.

The only thing I would miss by going back and dedicating those years to studies,  friendships and other activities would be an additional three to five years of pain and disappointment. And that pain did not represent any real gain. In fact it created more obstacles to be overcome later on in life.

In other words, I lost more than I gained by “getting experience” with physical relationships as a teenager. Here I can finally admit:  The adults who warned me were right, I was wrong!


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