Being a teenager is not always fun and games and parties. On the contrary, problems with parents, a boyfriend or girlfriend, fights with friends, money worries, skin problems, worries about sex – this is no picnic.
But it does get better eventually. Even when it doesn't feel that way right now. Right now, you feel as if the sun will not come up again. But, don't despair. Your life is almost certain to improve in certain ways.
Not without your license. Imagine having your own car and being able to come and go as you please. The freedom it brings is unspeakable. But so is the cost of servicing the car, replacing the tyres and paying for the car license. Life both gives and takes.
Wear and tear. In a few years' time you will be able to wear exactly what you choose. Or pierce your tongue should you want to. If a kilt and a poncho blow your hair back, you can wear it. After all, what we wear says a lot about us, and who can express themselves properly with parental style police hanging around?
Eat your brocolli. Right, you know it's good for you, but why must things that are good for you taste so vile? When you leave home you can live on burgers and pizzas, but just remember to eat some fresh fruit and vegetables – recently there was a student in America who was diagnosed with scurvy after eating nothing fresh for six months.
Heartbreak hotel. Take solace in the fact that getting your heart broken is always worst the first time it happens. Next time around, you will be older, wiser and have the knowledge that you survived this before. Also, the knowledge that you have fallen in love more than once, shows that it could happen three times.
Zits are the pits. Massive hormonal changes during your teen years are largely responsible for this. Rest assured, that there will come a time, usually before your 21st birthday, where this problem sorts itself out. If not, a dermatologist can usually recommend medication to fix this.
No more curfews. "As long as you live under my roof, you will do as I say". Ever heard this? There will come a time that you will be living under your own roof and can do as you please and will not have to explain why you are ten minutes late. Your own roof also means, however, that feeding the cat and washing the floors and doing the ironing will become your responsibility.
Clean your room. When you are on your own, you can leave your room in exactly the condition that you please or can tolerate. For weeks. The only thing is, what if you want to take someone home and you can't get the front door open?
Turn that down. When you're on your own, you can play what music you like when you like at the volume you like. Then it's best to rent a cottage on a fram where you have no close neighbours who might complain because their floors have been vibrating for three weeks.
You're just like Uncle Winston. Being compared to a family member, especially one you don't particularly like, can be a heavy burden to carry. Everything you do gets compared to what he would have done given the circumstances. At least when you're on your own you can be your own person and not live with constant odious comparisons.
Home is where the heart is. Even though you might feel you would like to go and pack fish in Iceland and never return, there will come a time when things get better between you and your parents. You grow up, they grow up, you all see things differently. Even if you are out there on your own, working as a DJ, a computer boff, a dancer, a teacher – it's nice to know you can go home for a cup if tea and some support. So best you don't burn too many bridges now, because they wouldn't let you go away for the weekend with your three friends.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated June 2010)