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Advice for 15 year old self

by Catherine - Grit Club member

I received an email recently from a writing group asking: What would you tell your 15-year-old self? My granddaughter, Alexis, is 15 years old and a sophomore in high school so this topic was very thought provoking for a 62-year-old grandmother.

Recently my granddaughter told her parents that she wanted to stop playing volleyball. She has played for 7 years both for her school team and on a competitive traveling team. She wrote down the pros and cons on whether or not she wanted to continue the sport, and after much deliberation, she decided she wants to focus more on her academics. She is in one of the top public schools in the country and in the top 10% of her class and her goals are to take more AP and Advanced/Gifted classes. Though many of her friends play volleyball, I was very proud of her and that she made a difficult decision that could change the choice’s she makes in the future (i.e., choice of college, career and academic endeavors). How wise and mature that my 15-year-old granddaughter can and did make a choice for her future and that her parents allowed her to make the decision for herself.

As a 15-year-old, I wish I could have told myself many things but here are just a few:

  • That like my granddaughter has done, I had a choice in the road I traveled. I didn’t have to try and fit in and go along with the crowd, but I could have chosen to focus on my education, study harder, and make better grades. A good education in elementary and high school really does matter as it sets the route your life will take. 

  • I would have warned myself to stay away from certain friends and people as trying to “fit in” can cause us to make bad choices and the people we hang out with do influence us (either good or bad). I would have looked deeper into my friend choices, and I would have told myself that my choice of friends can change your entire life.

  • I would have told myself that I would turn out just fine and that having a family was better than I ever dreamed it would be and that being a grandmother is the best of all. I would have told myself not to worry so much but to have confidence in myself that eventually I would figure it all out and be very happy.

  • That time flies and enjoy being a teenager and the freedom it brings. There is no other time in your life that you can learn new things at your parents’ expense, have experiences with your family traveling, trying new activities, learning what you like and don’t like, and you have someone watching out and protecting you and also paying for it all. 

  • I would have learned more about my faith and trust in God and really listened to the sermons and asked questions about what I believed or didn’t. I would have listened to my inner voice and that I have always known right from wrong and the old saying “let your conscience be your guide” has a lot of truth in it.

  • And last but definitely not least: You were very blessed and your parents really love you a lot and I wish I had listened to them better.

So reach for the stars as the possibilities are endless and your life is wide open so settle for nothing but the best as a 15-year-old. I admire my granddaughter and the choice she made to pursue her academics over playing a sport she excelled in but knew it would not be her life long dream to pursue after high school.

No matter our age we still have life lessons to be learned and to be proactive in our thought process and to weigh the pros and cons. I hope we can all look through the eyes of our own 15 year old self and remember the highs and lows and make the decisions in our life in a thoughtful and courageous way.  

Catherine and Alexis pictured below. Bottom picture is Alexis in action (where she specialized in defense and usually played libero)

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