This topic is very timely for me. This very morning I recorded a podcast for Simon & Schuster, answering questions about my just-released novel, SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE. (SECRETS OF MY SUBURBAN LIFE is about a teen named Ren D’Arc whose novelist mother is crushed to death by a stack of Harry Potter books. In the aftermath of this unique tragedy, Ren’s father moves her from NYC to Danbury, CT, where Ren becomes involved in a sort-of mystery centering on an online predator – OK, obligatory self-plug over!)
One of the questions I was asked during the podcast was, “All the challenges Ren faces as a teen are common to many teens today – what do you think is most difficult about being a teen in today’s world?” Since I don’t want to be boring and simply quote verbatim what I already said there, I’ll try to incorporate the gist of it into something original here.
I think the most difficult thing about being a teen in today’s world is all the pressure to grow up too fast. But guess what? Those same pressures applied when I was a teen, ahem, X number of years ago. It may have started a little later than it does now – back then, you didn’t see eight-year-olds dressed like streetwalkers – but still. I went through puberty at age ten, have had the same 36Cs ever since. You can imagine how much fun that was at ten! Really, you try having cleavage at age ten. But by the time I was twelve, I was already wearing makeup, tweezing my Brooke Shields unibrow down to Kate Jackson perfection, wearing sky-high platforms to overcompensate for my 4’11 stature, and pretty much looking for trouble wherever I found it.
Often enough to complicate my life, I found it.
So what advice would I give to my adolescent self if I could turn back the clock and there was even the remotest chance she’d listen: “Please stop rushing everything so much! Trust me, you will be an adult for a very long time (if you’re lucky)! So pleasepleaseplease enjoy the day, the month, the year, the moment you are living, and stop hastening on to the next!”
Of course, I have enjoyed my life, still do, and I try to live my life with no regrets. But there are still a few things that, looking back on it now, I wish I hadn’t rushed.
Now, everybody…go out and buy my book! (Sorry, but if I didn’t try to self-plug at least one more time, I would hate myself in the morning.)
Be well. Don’t forget to write.