The high school that I graduated from wasn’t huge and I lived in a community where everybody knew everybody. We had the girls who became pregnant during their freshman year and spent the next few years being both a high school student and a mother, and we all judged her because we couldn’t understand why she’d want to spend those years being a mother. We had the couple who were sixteen or seventeen years old and were engaged to become married, and we all judged them because we knew there was no way their relationship could ever last. We had the group of students who only cared about partying, drinking and doing drugs, and we all judged them because we couldn’t understand how they could throw away their whole life away at such a young age. We had the group of students who took nothing but AP classes and classes that counted towards college credit, and we all judged them because we couldn’t understand how they could want to spend that time worrying about college when it seemed so far away to the rest of us.
At nineteen and with my freshman year of college under my belt, my situation is so much different from even my best of friends. There are people my age who are raising families, who are planning marriages, who are out partying every weekend, and who’ve already completed multiple years of college.
It’s okay that our lives don’t perfectly align right now, that’s how life works. But let me tell you what’s NOT okay.
It’s not okay for you to tell that young mother that she should have waited to have children, because you don’t know anything about her situation. Those children could have been that young woman’s saving grace, and she could be in such a horrible place if it weren’t for them. We’ll never know.
It’s not okay for you to tell that couple who announced their engagement that their relationship will never work because they’re too young. Those two people, no matter how young they are, could be made for each other and still be happily together in their 80’s. We’ll never know.
It’s not okay for you to tell that girl or that guy who spends most of their time partying that they need to grow up. The lifestyle that they’re choosing to live could be the only thing that can help them to get away from some of the horrible things that have happened to them, even if it’s only for a little while. We’ll never know.
It’s not okay for you to tell that girl or that guy whose education comes before anything else that they need to loosen up a little bit, or that they need to live a little. Their college education could be the first one ever in their family. We’ll never know.
I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve been the one to look at another person and see the way they’re living their life, thinking that I’m so much better than them because I’m making different choices. Now, I’m ashamed to say that I was ever that person because I see so many people like that on a daily basis. At this age, our lives are so far from perfect and we don’t have everything figured out. It’s nice to have people encourage and empower us, instead of having people look down on us because we’re young and living life a certain way. Before you pass judgement on someone else, I urge you to put yourselves in their shoes. If you were them, what would you want? Would you want someone to encourage you and to keep telling you to do what makes you happy, or would you want someone to look down on you for the life you’re living?