Things to Know on Becoming a Teenager

A family I know has a tradition of making a book when their children hit 13. Everyone writes a memory, or a piece of advice. I set down to write a list of 25 things that are *actually* true. Is there anything wrong here? Is there anything I'm missing?

1. You are somewhat better looking that you think you are.

2. You are somewhat more popular that you think you are.

3. Your parents are somewhat more cool than you think they are. They are somewhat less cool than they think they are.

4. Your parents are sometimes wrong. You are wrong more often.

5. For any given "grown up" activity, somewhat fewer people are doing it than you think.

6. For any given "grown up" activity, somewhat fewer people are doing it than say they are doing it.

7. People are not thinking about you. They are thinking about what you're thinking about them.

8. You are entering a period of chronic, low-level insanity. You will look back on your teen age years and realize this. All teenage girls are insane.

9. Teenage boys are worse. They are stark, raving, often droolingly insane, and generally remain so well into their twenties.

10. There is nothing wrong with your breath.

11. Your body smells just fine.

12. Noses never hit. Braces do not lock. Teeth sometimes hit. Lips chap, but it take a long, long time. You now know absolutely everything about the dangers of kissing.

13. Oh, I forgot. It's much easier than you think to get a hickie. If you get one, you will try hard to hide it. Your parents and teachers will try equally hard to pretend they don't see it, or don't know what it is.

14. The coolest kids in my class are failures now. This is a simple fact. If I had known it at the time I would have thought it a very fun fact. Now I realize it's kind of sad.

15. The nerdiest kid in my mother's class went on to win a Nobel Prize in Physics. (He is, however, still a major nerd.)

16. No teacher ever hates you. They just don't think that way. The good ones will love you a little or a lot. The bad ones will have the same emotion toward you that a factory worker has toward objects flying past on an assembly line.

17. Your parents don't hate you. Your parents love you more than you can even understand now.

18. If something is illegal, there is probably a good reason.

19. The things that you think will get you into trouble probably won't get you into as much trouble as you think, but will still get you into trouble.

20. The things you think might be dangerous are probably more dangerous than you think.

21. Tattoos last an extremely long time. Studies have shown that only 1% of teenagers who get a tattoo like them ten years later.

22. Nose rings and tongue studs last only as long as you want them, but bother parents just as much.

23. You're not stuck. It will end. But it's going to take a long, long time.

24. When you enter a room and everyone is laughing, it isn't about you.

25. When you enter a room and everyone is laughing, and you recently blew your nose, and they're all pointing at you, and there's something green swinging in the corner of your vision, considering revising rule 24..

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