Friday, June 11, 2010

Guest Author Julia Harrington's article "Dear Thirteen Year Olds"

After celebrating my twentieth birthday recently, I was stuck by how excited I was to start a new decade and phase in my life. I began to reflect on the past seven years of being a teenager. Here is what wisdom I have gathered and would share with my thirteen year old self, and all those starting their teenage years.

Dear Thirteen Year-Olds,

The first thing that I would like to tell you is to always speak your truth. Always act in a way that is true to yourself, it will always lead you in the right direction. I’m not saying that being true to your self isn’t hard or will result in the easiest path. It takes great strength to be your self. What will result from this is a peace within that is more comforting than you yet know. Your strong sense of self will help you in all situations.

The next piece of advice that I would like to help you with is how to deal with loss. When you are a teen it is hard to handle loss and it might feel like you need to be sad to truly miss a lost loved one. What is important is to get to a place where you are able to look back fondly on the time that you shared with them. Cherish the person they were, and the person that they helped mold you to be. Allow your self to grieve, but also allow your self to celebrate their life. Be happy that they are at peace, and be thankful that they are always with you.

During your teen years, you will have to deal with many friendship hardships but also will make lifelong friends. My advice for the hardships may be one that you already know, but you will master it during your teen years. Don’t take yourself to seriously, and know that it is okay to poke fun at yourself. Having a good sense of humor is helpful in all situations. Your sense of humor will help when you need to defend others and when you need to defend yourself. Know that any hardships will pass and spend your time focusing on your true friends. This is the same for relationships; focus on the people that care for you. Be thankful for all those that are there for you, friends and family.
An important part of being a teenager is to have fun! Don’t be an excessive worrier. While it is important to have a healthy sense of precaution to keep yourself safe, make sure you don’t manifest that into worrying.  Take risks, try everything and embrace things that you enjoy doing. It is exciting to find yourself during this time. The best way to do this is try anything that you find even remotely interesting. Try things even if your group of friends won’t try it with you. The best experiences come from learning new things about yourself and engaging with new people. Trying new things can be a lot of fun, discovery is an important part of this time.
Here are some final words of wisdom that I would like to share with you. Keep a journal to help get over sad moments and to cherish good memories. Find songs that speak to your soul and play them whenever the mood strikes. Know that you are never alone and are cared for, even when it seems that no one understands. . Have a lot of fun, but don’t forget to also learn a lot, you will see knowledge really is power. I hope this helps and I know that you will be able to get through and enjoy this time in your life!

Julia Harrington


  1. Thank you to my niece Julia, for such a beautifully written piece of wisdom.

  2. Julia,

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I only wish that when I was 13, someone had told me these things. You've given a profound service by sharing your insights. And as someone who is a 'bit' older than 20!..may I just say that when you look back on this one will be proud...and I hope you are proud now! :)

    Lots of love,

  3. Julia... thank you for the reminder.... "don't take yourself too seriously" we'll have a lot more fun that way!!

  4. Julia, your amazing. I know you must hear that all the time and brush it off, but let me tell you, you are. I am so impressed with your wisdom. Knowing there are young people like you gives us hope for the future, especially as you share your wisdom and touch the lives of other young people by example.

  5. Awe, that made my cry. How sweet. Thank you for posting.

  6. Thanks Julia for talking about the 7 year growth cycle of being a teenager. I think many of us still try to resolve losses or changes still from that time but you have found a way to share this cycle with others and give insight into what to expect. I wish someone had blogged that back in my day - it was kind of hard though carving into stone tablets.

  7. Julia,
    Great thoughts and wonderful sharing, thank you! Certainly something to pass along to all teenagers. You are very wise and can tell you will do well with what you choose to do in life!


  8. Julia,

    Your article is wonderful. Very well written.

    Thank you!

  9. Knowledge is power - thanks for sharing your lessons learned over the past 7 years.

    You're doing great!