Last week I turned 28. It doesn't feel too bad, actually. Each birthday comes with the inevitable fear that this year needs to be really great. So many 'this is my year' social media posts get banded around, like a daily New Years' Eve for the Tumblr generation. I've never been massively philosophical when it comes to the future. To me, the future just kind of happens.
Allowing failure, embracing it even, and building up self-esteem are not mutually exclusive. It is perfectly possible to do both and I would argue if we don't allow our children to fail on occasion and learn from that, then the self-esteem we spend years nurturing is very precarious indeed and at great risk of disintegrating in the adult world.
Youth is a time for experimentation. To make mistakes and suffer the consequences, but then to do it again because it was just as thrilling as the first time. I'm not saying your youth is meant for recklessness but it is one of the few times you can be reckless and have no serious repercussions; depending on the context of course.
"I don't think my dad ever loved me." This is the statement I hear my clients repeating time after time. It's irrelevant who says it, men or women, although it is more common coming from women, given that an unhealthy relationship with their dad, i.e. 'Key Male Figure', tends to reflect in their relationships
So here I am, 25 and without my driving licence. For the first time I'm actually embarrassed about it. I had never considered that there would be a day when I'd feel judged for not having accomplished what my sister achieved six weeks after turning seventeen, or what my parents have been doing for a combined 70 years.
Being a tween or young adult can be rough, ridiculously confusing, and generally uncomfortable. (Hell, being an adult can be too.) Growing up, experiencing changes in your body, and feeling your crazy hormones running amok create a feeling of complete unease in your own skin. This summer, I ran a class called Girls' Lifestyle Camp for girls between the ages of 10 and 13.
Our society sends out confusing messages about when young people become adults, what level of responsibility they should have for themselves and what role they can play. You can smoke, join the army, leave school (this school year anyway) and have sex at 16, drive at 17 but you have to wait until 18 to drink alcohol in a pub and vote. Then you hit 21 and that still retains some significance.