It is days before your 13th birthday and you are approaching the line. 12 sleeps from now, you will enter the scary age of being a teenager. For years, you have been a kid, a child. You have liked most of it and thought there would be magic when you celebrated your first teen birthday.
A day has passed and you have 11 sleeps until your critical moment. You wonder how it feels to be a teen. Will you enter the cool gang of teens? Will they accept you? What will be the test they will make you go through to allow you into the neighborhood of teens, the "teenhood"?
You get up in the morning. 10 more sleeps and your body is starting to feel different. It is a bit scary. You know it is only temporary, but you still find it overwhelming. You check the mirror often to find if the real you is still there. You worry about your smell, your breath, your hair and every piece of clothing, because "They’re just so critical".
9 more sleeps. You start noticing that others and what they think about you are becoming very important to you. This creates pressure and makes it hard to think, to concentrate and to study. Things that used to seem so easy in the past are more complicated and require more effort.
8 more sleeps to "touchdown". You have an overload of emotions that you cannot digest easily. You have a feeling those emotions might take control over you and you are not sure you have the right skills to cope.
You go to sleep and think about touching, kissing and hugging. You have 7 more sleeps to the magic moment and you stay up late at night trying to imagine yourself strong, confident, successful and popular. You will give anything to reach that state, or at least, some nights, when you are all by yourself, you hope you will be strong enough to survive this.
6 sleeps to your 13th birthday. You wonder if your parents love you, if they got you in an orphanage or found you in the garbage bin. You are not sure how to find out the truth about their behavior, their anger and their disapproval. "Real parents would never treat their kids like this", you probably say to yourself.
You have a huge need for attention. You explore dangerous things, painful things, silly things, illegal things and your fifth day before your teen ceremony is moving fast. You certainly get more attention, but somehow it is not pleasant.
If you are lucky, your teachers love you and your ride through school is smooth. If you are not so lucky (or not such a good student), your teachers will make the ride hard and painful and you will doubt the concept of school, question its effectiveness, its necessity and its contribution to your growth and development. Suddenly, with only 4 sleeps to go, you start noticing people who have not completed their studies and you wonder if you should keep getting up in the morning every day and put up with your routine (most of the time, anyway). You discover you do not have the courage to change.
3 sleeps to go and your first teen year is fast approaching. Your parents have high expectations from you. They put lots of pressure on you to perform, to be good at school, to help at home and to be nice and kind. They demand you leave your door open and want to monitor every move you make. You start doubting if you really want to become a teenager and try to experience the last days of childhood, which now feels so sweet in comparison.
You wonder if others around you like you. You want them to like you. You need their love and acceptance, but this sometimes conflicts with your parents’ desires and approval, so what do you do? Do you lie to your parents and please your friends or do you lie to your friends and please your parents? And what about you? What about what you want? Only 2 more sleeps and it is getting tough. You wonder if you will have to deal with this dilemma for a long time. You seek help in many places and sometime in the wrong places.
It is your last day of childhood. You look around to enjoy a few more moments of innocence. You want to go to sleep and wake up a new person – stronger, smarter. At the same time, your are afraid to enter a new zone that everyone else thinks is hard and scary with many obstacles and conflicts, with pressures and frustrations. Inside of you, you have a glimpse of knowledge that brings with it joy and pleasure. You go to sleep with a big hope that the 7 teen years ahead of you, until your 20th birthday, will be the best years of your life, and they will.
Welcome to teenhood!