Mistakes are part of life

To any teenager reading this who is feeling bullied and harassed or thinks life doesn’t get better after high school — you’re wrong.

To any teenager reading this who is feeling bullied and harassed or thinks life doesn’t get better after high school — you’re wrong. It does. Because as you grow older, you also grow wiser. I know, I know, adults are stupid, but indulge this one a moment and let me whisper a few hard-earned words.

Once you step outside that institutional zoo of hormones gone wild where popularity isn’t judged by the things that matter most: decency, kindness, loyalty, you’ll discover what the meaning of true friendship is.

And in this discovery, you’ll ditch those who you thought were friends simply because they lived nearby or you shared a circumstantial history, for you’ll finally see their true colours and understand their true value. And in their place, you’ll find people who like, love and respect you for you.

In high school, it’s often the oddball or misfit who feels the most alone, and yet these are the very same people who most often change our world for the better. Without dreamers, the world is only two dimensional.

After high school, individuality has value. Kindness has value. Imagination and intelligence have value. The only people who don’t grow are those whose minds stay locked in those empty school hallways and locker rooms, the ones who continue to judge people on physical beauty or the label on their jeans.

As you grow older, you won’t look up to those people, and in fact will wonder why you ever had a tinge of envy or wished you were part of their crowd.

High school is shallow, but you are not.

The reason why so many people turned out to grieve the recent and tragic suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd — including around 150 people who came out to Beacon Hill Park on Friday evening to light candles and talk about bullying — is that, as adults, we understand how easy it is to make a mistake and feel like it will never go away. But it does. Even with the internet, it only has the power that you give it.

As adults, you’ll gain an independence of thought that allows you to stand strong, accept and own your mistakes, and understand that you’re not alone. Some of us continue to screw up well past our teens until the day we reach out a hand and ask for help. And when you ask, that’s when you’ll know the true value of a friend.

As humans, we are flawed and sensitive creatures, and, unfortunately, the most shallow and least interesting tend to become the bullies. Since they can’t see or fathom their own inner light, they have a need to pluck the wings off unformed butterflies.

The best defence against any predator is for the pack to stick together, from the weakest to the strongest, from the shyest to the boldest. Never let the bullies win. But most importantly, hang in there. The future is awesome. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancouver Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Can you spot all 12 Days of Christmas displays at the Butchart Gardens? Jen Blyth photo.
The magic of Christmas returns to the Butchart Gardens

Some events cancelled due to COVID-10 but 12 Days of Christmas will brighten the season

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

Theatre has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Most Read