I followed the rules, got A’s, did everything “right” — and found myself floundering: depressed, suicidal, and struggling with eating disorders. What?
I learned a ton of things growing up: how to focus and work hard, do the laundry, write a strong essay, make friends, do 20 pull ups, and more — all great things. Then I headed off to college and found myself drowning. I’d done everything I was supposed to up until that point and been successful, so where had I gone wrong?
With more life experience and a bit more wisdom, I’ve learned that I hadn’t gone wrong — I was simply human. In addition to all I’d learned growing up, I needed to learn some additional life skills, and they weren’t things I could read about in a book or get from a lecture — I had to live them.
Our teens have such things to learn, too. However, it’s the kind of stuff most of us don’t learn until we’re trying more things on our own. The gaps in knowledge appear once we’re out of our comfort zone, trying new and different things, such as how to manage our feelings and emotions and use them for guidance, and our personal best methods for making it through the challenging times (and they happen for everyone!).
Key for thriving: social and emotional learning. Once we’ve got a handle on our mindset and emotions, decisions about so much else in life (money, relationships, jobs, etc.) get a whole lot easier (and typically work out better, too). Though until we do, life can feel much, much harder and things can go downhill fast.
Want to help your teen survive, thrive, and succeed as they head into adulthood? Awesome — me too. Let’s add some tools to their toolbox.
A bit about me: Now a mom of three lovelies, I’ve played many roles over the years, including elite athlete (member of the USA Women’s Gymnastics Team), scholar-athlete at Stanford University, HR in high tech land (the food at Google was tasty), personal chef and health coach, and author.
While I’m proud of these roles and accomplishments, I’m especially proud of my journey through (and recovery from) depression, eating disorders, and related struggles in my teens and early twenties (I was convinced I was a failure at everything). Life went in directions I never would have thought — and I ultimately made it out the other side stronger and wiser. In the process, I figured out I was doing okay as a human being.
I know we all have our challenges, and today I share my experiences to help others, especially teens, as they navigate the road into adulthood.