Nothing makes me feel old like hanging out with anyone who still has the suffix “-teen” in their life. One of the guys at my new job is 19 and when he said it and I realized that was nearly a decade away for me, a little piece of me died inside.

But that is beside the point.

What I was going to say is that while it also makes me feel old to say this, the times have changed. And being a kid nowadays is so different from being a kid when I was a kid, just like it was so different being a kid when my mom was a kid, etc., etc.

For example…

My main worries as a child/teen, by Andrea Beça:

  • Will my brother want to hang out with me today?
  • Is Mom going to let us have candy after dinner?
  • Will today be the day that I get my Barbie’s haircut just right?
  • I hope we don’t have to run in gym class.
  • God, I wish my parents would just let me have my own phone line.
  • Does Michael like me back?*
  • What if the Spice Girls break up?
  • I wonder if school’s gonna make us learn to use the Internet.**
  • Do I look fat in this?
  • OMG, is that a zit?
  • I wonder if Marilyn Manson would think I’m hot…

The main worries of a child/teen in 2012:

  • Ugh, I hope my brother doesn’t post that video of me lip-synching to PSY on YouTube.
  • What if my mom finds out about this C- and takes away my iPhone? (Whatever, I still have Internet on my iPod Touch.)
  • I hope we don’t have to run in gym class.****
  • Who is this creep-o writing to me every day on Facebook? Does he know where I go to school?
  • God, I wish my parents would just let me get implants.
  • What if Katie tells everyone on Twitter that I got my period in math class? Everyone’s gonna hate me!
  • Do I look fat in this?****
  • I wonder if Justin Bieber will tweet me back about coming to prom!
  • OMG, is that a zit? I should get a facial. Maybe Botox would help.
  • I wonder if that guy has a gun.+

Lesson learned: Being a kid has always been hard, but it seems to be getting harder, when it should be getting easier as we learn more, advance more, etc.. Also, I don’t understand the world, and I obviously never will.

xA

*Do you, Michael? I’m still wondering! You and your damn Irish good looks!

**YEAH THAT’S RIGHT. The Internet wasn’t always a thing, kids. It became a thing!***

***Cue Andrea feeling EVEN older as she explains this to teens at her retail job.

****Because some things never change.

+I don’t put this in here as a joke. It’s something I take very seriously. What happened yesterday in Connecticut (and has happened many times before) hit me hard. I wish in my heart of hearts that this – and many other things – never had to cross the mind of any child. It breaks my heart that it’s probably going to become an increasing concern. So on that note, I also have this to say, which I posted on Facebook yesterday:

“One of my freelance jobs right now is transcribing interviews with high-risk youth. Then something like [the shooting in Connecticut] happens and it hits me HARD. I don’t understand why we’re still shrugging off mental health issues and not taking them seriously. I can’t even find all of the words I am trying to find to articulate what I’m feeling, but I’ll say this: I’m really sad and it’s going to be hard to go on with my work day, and I wish that kids didn’t have to ever worry about getting hurt anywhere, but especially not at a “safe place” like school. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN. And don’t marginalize the ones who act out just because they annoy or frustrate you. They’re probably the ones who need you most, even if it’s just a kind word and a smile. You may have NO idea what it means to them, but I’ve got months of proof that it can literally change lives.”

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