THAT CRAY-CRAY TRANSITION
By: Palesa Matjebele
The truth is peers influence ones outlook on life whether we would admit it or not; it’s only a human nature to learn a lot from those of the same age as you, you learn from the people around you and they in turn learn a thing or two from you too. The pressures adopted are not always bad, positive traits can also be contagious and adapted to as it does not always have to bad to be considered peer pressure.
There may be countless reasons why people fall prey to the pressures of the society, most kids fall prey in the quest to be one of the coolest kids in school, trying to fit in and basically get everyone to like them in order to avoid being bullied. The sense of everyone doing something somehow makes it right and cloud up an individual’s judgment. Imitations are a great part of every child’s life; searching for behaviors of others they can co-opt is just a normality for picking up skills and techniques of everyday life.
Adolescence is the most crucial time in any individual’s life where they are at their fragile outmost, the transition where a young person develops from a child into an adult is critically confusing. This period in life, perception is formed and a world of possibilities opens up widely; appearance, taste and new sets of values make formation, the urge to follow the crowd may also intensifies in the process. Adolescents have it harder out of all the stages of a human life, leaving that childhood comfort where everything is all so carefree and going into what is then this adult life where everyone wants you to act and behave in a certain way, together with all the brand-new responsibilities one has to take as an adult is by all means daunting!
You don’t know if you coming or going, the expectations from adults and younger ones are all so overwhelming, you are not sure how adults really act or if you should still remain how you were couple years back. When you act like an adult, they all say no you are a kid and you should act like one but then again if you go back and do the things that kids do, there they are, talking and saying that you are too childish, you should grow up and be responsible! You can never really know what the two generations you are standing in between really want from you, the experience is all so confusing. The transition is just so critical yet so rewarding once the idea gets familiar. Cliques are intensely formed in this stage where everyone wants to be much more popular than the rest of the crowd, social acceptance is by all means aimed for and unfortunately the commonly shared behaviors by majority falls into the negative-risky side of life.
Substance use, the consumption of alcohol and sexual intercourse are all initiated by the quest of social acceptance brought by the pressures of peers. Being lost in the dungeons calls for that point in time where one then seeks a sense of belonging, and the only place to really fit in and not feel like an alien would then be from peers as they are facing the same challenges as you are. Together the ‘’Never good enough’’ generation carve their own ways that are so mischievous and then again socially unacceptable like always! Truth is, a blind cannot lead the blind as none cannot see where the long roads leads.
The road to adulthood is rocky and not everyone can make it through with all the obstacles awaiting on the highway but bringing out the moral inner person is always a good resolution when you are not quite sure of which decision to make, listening to that inner voice at the back of the head does the rescuing at times, for in our mind we already know what is right and wrong, so listening to the wiser you is the answer. Finding who you instead of finding those who are facing the same demons as you are can also be very helpful, if you know who you are and what you stand for then you won’t have a problem trying to be the version of the other person but the best version of you.
Just like water, a dose of high self-esteem is needed for the road, it’s okay to feel isolated, it’s also okay to take a loss and it’s by all means normal to make mistakes like a human being you are, we all have flaws and we grow bigger and better from our own mistakes, after all nobody is perfect! Failure is expected, for we are human beings and not made out of steel, we are bound to take loss time and time again but then again, no sweat at all for it is said that we are not measured by the number of times we fall but by the number of times we get up, stand tall and soldier on like we have never ever been down for a second!
One last thing the wise advice is for one to have a positive outlook on life, feel good about yourself, believe in your ability, have self-motivation and lastly be unconditionally accepting of yourself. It’s okay to give yourself a pat on the shoulder and be proud of your accomplishments, no matter how little they may be; the feelings you have about yourself are contagious, that’s self-esteem and it literally affects everything you do.