Sunday 3 May 2015


Reader Marina writes about the in-between years, when you are leaving childhood behind but haven't quite got to adulthood…

Marina says:
Time… it ticks relentlessly by, whether we are paying attention or not. When I was very small time just flew… I never noticed it at all, I lived completely in the moment and enjoyed every minute, or looking back it certainly seems that way. When I was five or six, I thought it would be the best thing ever to be a teenager like my older cousins. It seemed so distant and exotic. Now, I would do anything to turn the clock back.

It's not that I want to wish my life away, just that I am finding being a teenager much harder than I ever imagined. It's not all eyeliner and earrings and crop tops and boys; it's homework and spots and period pain and friendship fallouts. It's worrying about whether people will laugh if you wear shorts to the park or dye your hair, or if the boy you like will ever notice you're alive at all, or if you'll get moved down a set for Maths because no matter how hard you try you cannot get the hang of it.

Some days, I feel like life has just got way too complicated and I feel like turning over and going back to sleep, because I know that the day ahead will contain disaster after disaster. It's not all bad, of course. Other days, I find I am happy. The day I get a good grade on my homework, when I make a new friend, when I have a laugh with old mates and the boy I secretly fancy smiles at me. Those days I could fly to the moon.

I hope that there are plenty more good days up ahead, and I know there will be because being a teenager IS exciting and fun, it's just that it is challenging too and more complicated than I imagined! I sometimes look back to childhood with rose tinted glasses. Things were simpler then and I wish I could live it all over again but really I know that can't happen and that I must make the best of my life now. Everybody struggles a bit with being a teenager, because growing up is hard to do.

Illustrations by reader Beth - thank you so much! These are awesome!

Cathy says:
I love Marina's post… I remember feeling that way too, but things really DO get better! Do you ever wish growing up was a little less complicated? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!


  1. I think there are complicated times through the whole of life really... confusing times, days that are so hard you just want to crawl up under a duvet and not come out for a while... but yes, there are also definitely the good bits, the parts that will be remembered in a year's time more than the bad bits ever will be! We just need to live through the hard parts of life and remember that is not all bad - everyone will have greater days that are worth far more than the bad ones.

    (Also, I just wanted to say how amazing those illustrations are!)

  2. Tbh life's hard but I love the challenge and see it as an adventure!

  3. Those illustrations are brilliant. They make me feel ashamed of my childish attempts at illustrations so I'm going to have to ask you to use a pseudonym or just don't credit me at all when you use my illustrations in a post. I don't want people to know how bad at drawing I am.

    As for the post, I think life is always hard because we're always looking for the negativities. When we're kids, we hate life because we're too little to watch the movies we want to watch and to wear the clothes we want to wear and we just seem to be too young for everything good in life and we desperately long to be teenagers who seem tall and independent and beautiful. When we're teenagers, we hate life because we'd built it up in our heads and it did not meet our expectations. We don't feel tall and independent and beautiful, we feel tiny and insignificant and unstable and we're paranoid everyone's judging our spots and our hair and our clothes when of course, nearly everyone else is staring in the mirror, feeling exactly the same as we are. We long to be adults when we'll be composed and settled and our hormones will no longer be playing havoc with our appearance and we'll lose all that teenage awkwardness. When we're adults, we hate life because it's not how we imagined it. Maybe your spots will disappear - but, for some (me) they won't. Maybe you will lose your teenage awkwardness - but there's no guarantee (me again). And, on top of that, there's so many responsibilities. Bills to pay, jobs to find, expectations to live up to. Whether you're 18 or 28, you're never truly ready to lose the support net of your family and try to fend for yourself in this world of new responsibilities pressing down on your shoulders. We spend our whole lives wanting more independence, more freedom, then when we finally get it, we want nothing more than to run home and have someone look after us like we're little again, with no fears about bills and jobs and relationships and all the scary adult stuff we thought we wanted, eons ago.

    Too depressing?

    Life isn't all doom and gloom, I guess. I mean, cats exist. As does chocolate. And music. And literature. And cold ice creams on hot summer days. And warm duvets with hot cocoa in the middle of winter, as a blizzard outside covers everything with snow as fresh as a new page in your sketchpad. Friends exist. Hot bubblebaths exist. Scented candles exist. Soft pillows and welcoming duvets at the end of a long day exist. The aromas of newly cut grass, your favourite dinner, freshly baked cakes, sweet flowers...they exist. Life is difficult and unless you're extremely lucky, there will always be something you'll struggle with - even if it's just long division which I promise you has no application in real life. But if you appreciate the little things that seem so miniscule and unimportant, you can get through the tough times and gradually, they'll get easier. You'll learn how to cope. You'll always have days where you wake up and just want to go back to sleep. You'll always have nights where you lie awake, fretting about everything and nothing before falling into a fitful sleep, plagued by nightmares. I'm not going to pretend all your problems will magically disappear. But if you focus on the good times - nostalgic memories, the beauty around you and all the amazing times you've yet to experience - life is just that bit easier to deal with.

    Wow. That was deep. I might put this on my blog. I've been neglecting it lately because I simply don't know what to put on it. Funny, I go on for hours but when I give myself a designated space to go on for hours, I suddenly have nothing to say!

    1. Fab… a blog in itself, as you've said. Plus, I love your artwork… different style, but just as good… more illustrative. Be proud. xxx

  4. All of life can be hard. you've got the good bits and the bad bits, but you've just got to accept it. But remember smile, laugh and hang out with friends and family and have fun, thats what matters most!

  5. Since I became an "adult" (I'm 18; still very much a teenager) last summer, teenage life has got a lot better, because I feel like I've found a nice little niche for myself in the world. The thing I envy is not having to worry about being responsible for things. Being a younger teenager is like that: no responsibilities to have to worry about. For example, I now have to worry about going to work, and making sure my brother gets up and home from school on time when my mum isn't around, and having to pick him up from school when he is ill.

    Sometimes, it's a nightmare, especially when my anxiety rears it's ugly head and I can't do things on my own. But saying that, everything has sort of straightened itself out since I became an adult.



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