They say your teenage years are prime time. Time for hardcore shits’n’gigs, next level experimentation and freedom from legit responsibilities. Then they say, ‘but teen life won’t last forever! You’ll have to move out, get an income, start your career. So make the most of it’.

Thank you for that stellar advice but honestly, I feel like my teen years haven’t quite begun.

We have this romanticised idea of our teenage years thrust upon us 24/7. All the snapchat stories of Maccas runs, after school swims, goon of fortune and the list goes on. But what if you don’t know what that feels like? Am I seriously missing out on the epitome of Aussie youth culture?

In short- no, no I’m not. And neither are you, so stop stressing that you’re missing out because there’s far more to life than your teenage years.

1. We’re all living different lives

There’s over four million teenagers in Australia and all of them have a unique high school experience. It’s common knowledge that everyone has their own interests, characteristics, ideas and every kid will have their quirks. Some guys want to play video games all day long, some want to top the state in maths, some want to dance and some just want to know what it feels like to get drunk.

No matter how you decide to spend your teenage years, this time of your life will be valuable; you’ll learn about yourself and fill in those milestones you’ve waited for your whole young life.

2. There’s nothing wrong with you

Some people just don’t enjoy high school- maybe you’ve hated every moment of it. That’s fine.

The system doesn’t work for everyone–sometimes you can’t keep your head above water because the assignments keep piling up, or your best friend moved overseas or you were the bully and nobody will forgive you. Maybe your depression or anxiety just hit the roof.

Some things (like high school) just don’t work out. What’s important to remember is there is nothing wrong with you. High school doesn’t have to be the main event of your teenage years.

3. It goes beyond turning 18

If you live for 85 years, high school won’t even be 7% of your life–no biggie!

There’s so much more to come after high school. There’s decades and decades of blank canvas to be painted however you wish. You will continue to develop and further yourself; learning as the years go by.

You’ll meet new people and make friendships in your thirties that last longer than any friendship you made in high school.

So, if you’re currently sitting at home alone on a Sunday night, ignoring your school work and fantasising about what it would be like if you had the perfect friend group- don’t. You’re more than just a little teenager and life will go on.

by Matilda Reid