Growing up is always hard. Growing up today is infinitely more so.
Part of growing up is about learning to deal with the bad stuff. It’s about having chips knocked off you and learning to defend yourself and others when the need arises. There is no way of waving a magic wand, in order to make child’s development as pain-free as possible, and nor should there be, for with pain comes wisdom. Those who are protected from the bumps that come with growing up only postpone learning the lesson that accompanies those scrapes, and the brutal reality is that people are more patient and give young people more leeway, so best get mistakes out of the way then.
I was a teenager, not too long ago. I look back on those years through interlocked fingers, aghast at the litany of misadventures occasioned by a basic lack of common sense, gaucheness and bizarre fashion sense, amplified by faux bravado. I sank gratefully into my twenties, cringing at the humiliations visited by an uncooperative and unfamiliar world, embarrassments keenly through the thinnest of skin, and it is only now, as I approach a birthday that leaves adolescence a faded and distant, if still somewhat awkward, memory, that wisdom and experience accrued over these many years has yielded one of its great and simple truths: it wasn’t just me.