The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

The student news site of Puyallup High School

The Viking Vanguard

So You’re Having a Midlife Crisis at 17

Do not worry, me too.

We all know that the glamorous version of high school we see in the movies is just a romantic lie or a wishful fantasy. The plans we dream up before the school year starts all come crashing down by mid-September and we are left with the task of figuring out what to do next. Our teen years are supposed to be this time of growth and experience, yet all too often it feels like one blunder after another.

Junior year has been particularly difficult for me. Between homework and extra curriculars and friendships and my mental health and that looming idea of “the future” that I keep moving to my ‘to do’ pile, I am just kind of a mess. When I focus on my education, I neglect my responsibilities at home and in relationships. When I focus on those responsibilities, I fall behind in school and my other commitments.

It is a tiring task, balancing so many priorities.

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Some people are quick to dismiss this high school stress, to say “You’re fine, you’re just a kid” and “you don’t need to figure it out now.” Others offer, “It gets better” or “It’s all worth it in the end.”

 However, as true as their sentiments may be, that promise of what comes tomorrow is not always comforting today. Theoretically, it is nice to be reminded that our problems will not last forever, but in the moment, it can be frustrating to not know how you are going to get there.

This is only worsened by the double standard of being a young adult. I am expected to make life-changing decisions and work to open doors for my future, all while being reminded that I am naïve.

And it’s just so confusing to try and figure out what actually matters in the long run.

Advice and support can become just another part of the pressure, as people present you with a list of contradicting tasks:

Get a job but also prioritize your social life while you are still a teen.

Get into college but do not place too much worth on your grades.

Do not make bad choices but experiment when you are young.

Do not be lazy like your generation but do not overwork yourself.

Mental health comes first, but not before homework.

We are told that right now is a crucial time in our lives, that we need to start being adults, yet simultaneously we are reminded that we are still just kids. It is exhausting.

I wish I could tell you that I have found some sort of solution in my reflections, but all I have found are more questions and a lot of depressed high school students. The unfortunate reality is that being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood is hard. We go through the world thinking that there is some correct answer for us to discover, but it is not nearly that straightforward. I do not have the answers unfortunately. I am not sure if anyone really knows.

So instead, I offer you this: It is complicated. It is unfair. It is confusing.

But you are not alone. Everyone has their own vices, but we are all struggling with something. Having a midlife crisis as a teenager isn’t pretty, but it’s pretty common. Your future is just as uncertain as the person’s next to you.

And you are okay. Not tomorrow, not in that far of fantasy of life after high school. Right now. Your struggle and indecision and feeling that you are hopelessly lost are just as valid as when you feel safe and secure. It is okay to be confused, it is okay to be upset, it is okay to be struggling.

So, you are having a midlife crisis at 17?

Good to hear that we are in this together.

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About the Contributor
Margo Hermann
Margo Hermann, Digital Media Editor
Margo Hermann is a junior at Puyallup High School. She joined VSM to learn more about media and connecting with people. She is passionate about telling stories through social media and writing.

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