How am I expected to learn without making mistakes?

Ilma Seperovic, Staff Writer

Impulsive, crazy, foolish: everything a teenager builds his or her life around to guide them to their desired adventures and experiences before it’s too late. Late nights out with friends, parties – all these experiences and memories will be carried into a teen’s adult life. They will look back and smile at all of the dumb, idiotic things they did when they were younger. They will not regret one thing they did, for it gave them happiness and an experience like never before. Adults went through everything teens are going through right now, but it seems that adults cannot help but frown upon teens as if they have never done the things teens have.

I don’t understand how society can tell a teen they need to do things they have never done before, that they need to go see the world and have adventures, yet society cannot help but discriminate a parent who does practice this, saying that it’s not good parenting and that they need to “control” their children. Either way, both the parents and teens will be judged on their actions. However, in the end, it is foolish not to practice just being an impulsive, crazy and rash teenager.

School has always been first at my home; my mother used to push me to the point of worrying about having a B in a class. However, now it seems that I have become my mother. I have pushed myself to care about my grades to the point where I obsess over them. My mom has stopped really pushing me towards school since I am pushing myself harder than she ever did. She knows I care, that I will do anything to get that GPA perfect along with everything else. I will put school before anything else in my life; that’s how it has been my entire life throughout high school. She sees that she has influenced me to obsess over my schooling, which is true in some ways.

Whenever I came home upset about a grade, I can tell it breaks her heart little by little because she knows I care too much. I know she thinks that if she never did care in the first place, I wouldn’t either. There are times when we will sit down and just talk, about anything and everything. Usually, I’ll end up crying about the stresses of work and school and she will be there with tear stains on her shirt to match mine. She always reminds me to live my life and experience things, stating that the very last thing she wants to do is stop me.

For the last couple of months, my mother has been pushing me to go out more, to go to my first party, to go to a game, to hang out with friends. She is constantly reminding that I will only be young once, so use it to the fullest advantage. I’ve been ignoring her, spending more time at home doing homework, picking up extra shifts at work and sleeping more. I know she is right, but I cannot seem to make time for my social life. I never really got the chance to live a true “teenager’s life.” I’ve always been too into the books to even care. I’ve never stolen anything, gone to a party, drank, or even been out past 1 am. My friends are always complaining they never see me or that I don’t even have a social life anymore. We joke around about it all the time, but in reality, it burns, burns my inner myself from the gleam of enjoyment which is being rotted away from me.

A teenager should never feel as if their life is flying by in glimpse; they should feel as if they have idiotic, foolish adventures. The arousal of a deep sense happiness and freedom is foreign in my life; I am in envy of those around me who can look back and relive their foolish days without an ounce of regret. I’m a teenager who feels as if I have aged thirty years with no significant stories to pass onto my children. I’m not saying every teenager should become an insane teenager who is out nonstop. I am simply asking, how am I expected to learn and experience life if I don’t make dumb, regretful mistakes and learn from them?

A wise man once said, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” So if this is true, why is society telling me it’s damaging to my future to make mistakes, and that adventures are just dumb mistakes that I will regret?