We're also moving out of the stereotype that is teenagers, for most of us anyway. I'm heading towards nineteen years of age this year. The thought of that is terrifying me but I was scared when I hit eighteen and I don't feel any different if I'm being honest. My mam told me that once I hit eighteen I was supposed to do my own washing! (It hasn't happened yet!) Eighteen is a strange age. You're older than seventeen (obviously) but even while you're legal in terms of voting and driving a car there are still certain things that you can't do. Like be the next President of Ireland.
It's just of those things. I've been told so many times that you'll have everything when you grow up. True, if you work for it. True, if you get lucky. True, if you want it. But, right now, I want to stay in my little bubble away from the real world. As much as I want to grow up I'm not sure that I'm ready for it yet. I think it's one of things that you ease into. One day I'll turn around and realise that I'm an adult. And if I'm ready for it then I won't be scared. If I am scared, I'm not an adult yet.
Teenagers. What exactly does that word mean? I've looked up the definition and all I've got is "a person aged between 13 and 19 years". When I read that definition, it got me thinking. Is that all we are? A person between thirteen and nineteen? No, we're so much more than that. A few decades ago we were minature versions of our parents, down to the last detail. We were told who to be, what to be, how to be that person. And we went along with it because society forced us to. But today, in the 21st century, we can be ourselves, we can be different and we are allowed to embrace our differences. We all have our own voices, our own opinions, our own way of dressing. Teenagers are regularly looked down upon for being "rebellious", "law-breakers", "lazy". We are the people that are followed around a clothes shop, just for looking "dodgy" When did we turn into the criminals?
As children we learnt from other people, by their actions, their opinions. It's a natural process. And by learning we developed our own opinions. And then we chose what we wanted to do. Yes, everyday on the news we hear about brutal crimes and many of those who commit these criminals are teenagers. Or people just out of their teens. But we aren't all criminals, I promise. Those people just went down the wrong path and embraced all the wrong things. But most of us are ready to move on and upward and just live our lives. There are so many things we can do if we are just given the chance. I know that sounds cliché and cheesy but it's true.
Look at Donal Walsh for example. A sixteen year old boy from County Kerry. He died of cancer on May 12th, 2013. He had a short life but in that short life he managed to capture the nations' hearts and highlight and remove the stigma around suicide. For a boy of sixteen to just give us his opinion , without any media training, and reach out to so many people is something simply amazing. What affected me the most about his condition is that I know I could never be like him, not in a million years.
So many doctors, teachers, parents and specialists have spent years trying to strike a chord with the people of Ireland about suicide. But Donal did it in just a few words. Without even trying.
Joanne O' Riordan. One of nine currently living people that is living with Tetra-amelia syndrome, which means she was born with no limbs. But she is not lying idle, she is getting out there and living her life, living each day to the full. In April 2012 she spoke in front of the United Nations in New York City. And received a standing ovation for her efforts.
Don't tell me that teenagers can't do anything.
So adults give us teenagers a chance. Because we're not all bad.
And teenagers, let's not be in such a rush to grow up!