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Ten things to do before you turn 17

Sometimes I wonder if there is too much hype about kids and their teenage years. Is it true that the things you get to do now, is an once-in-a-lifetime experience? As I sit writing this article at age of 38, I can tell you from my experience that it is true. These wonderful carefree days of experimenting and living without having to make your ends meet will never come back. Hence, explore, experience and exhilarate!

I asked a number of my friends as well as my ten-year-old daughter’s friends about the ten things they felt they missed out on doing or things they wished to do. This list is a combination of what they told me and what I have put down myself.

1. Camping under the stars

This need not be done only if you have taken a tour or have signed up with an adventure trekking company. This is something that can be done in your garden or your terrace too. Try sleeping under the open sky and identify constellations. If not, just gaze at the stars and marvel at the huge universe that lies beyond your small world. It is a very humbling experience. You can rent a tent from a local store, invite your friends over and have your own camping experience.

2. Go on a trek or a long walk

If you have signed up with a company that can help you do this on the mountain, great! If not, create your own nature trail. With your parents’ support, drive down to the outskirts of the city. Early morning is a great time to do that. Walk in silence so that you can hear the tiny creatures around you. If you are on a holiday, wake up early and take a long walk with an adult to accompany you. The chirping of birds and the stillness in the morning will be worth losing a morning’s sleep.

3. Identify a cause and join a charity

Identify a cause that is dear to your heart. It could be caring for animals, the ecosystem, an elderly person or someone with an illness. Volunteer in person and also save to donate in kind. The earlier you identify the cause you care about, the more direction your activities will have.

4. Open a post office account

It is a simple procedure. You need to go to the local post office, submit a few documents and you can start saving some money. You can also make it a recurring deposit scheme, where you will be compelled to save a certain amount periodically. It could be a part of the pocket money that you receive or the occasional excess cash that you get after visiting your grandparents or a generous uncle or aunt. Saving is a good habit, and the sooner in life you cultivate it, the better it is. Besides, you never know how your savings will be of use to you on a rainy day.

5. Run a business of your own

It could be as simple as opening a lemonade stall or renting your books from a library set up at home. There are plenty of ideas that you could choose from. Turn it into a hobby. While some other children spend their time watching television, you could be the CEO of your own company. And, running a business will not only teach you to be financially independent but will also help you communicate your ideas well. The biggest lesson that comes from being an entrepreneur, is learning to handle failure. And, it is a skill. Once you know how to handle failure in one sphere, you can handle it in many more areas of your life.

6. Keep your keep clean and organised

This will have a two-fold effect on everything. First and foremost, it will help you earn quick brownie points with your parents. They will be happy that they don’t have to nag you all the time to tidy up. Secondly, this can come in handy in your later years. The way you do one thing is the way you will do everything. If you have an organised room tomorrow, it will reflect in your organised work.

7. Play in the rain or the sand at the beach

Does this seem weird coming from a 38-year old? This was the most common suggestion given by everyone! With your parents’ permission, take a chance and try it the next time it rains and if your immunity levels are high. Don’t forget your trusted umbrella. If you live close to a beach, volunteer to bury your feet in the sand apart from making sand castles. You get a sense of letting loose and just being yourself.

8. Make breakfast for your mom and dad

They have been taking care of you ever since you put the first little thing to eat in your mouth. They have had sleepless nights when you sneezed more than thrice (Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration). But, let’s acknowledge it — they have gone out of their way to make life beautiful for you. So, how about doing it once for them? It can be a simple meal like bread and butter. It is the gesture that counts the most. Of course, in the bargain do not leave the kitchen in a big mess.

9. Teach your grandparents to use technology

Once you have flown out of the nest and are ready to leave for college, the only way to stay in touch with your grandparents regularly will be through technology. So, why not spend time to make your grandparents ready for tomorrow, today itself? You can go a step further and offer to teach their friends as well.

10. Dream, dream and dream

The most important one, is to dream and not let others steal them away. There will be people who will discourage you from pursuing your dreams. They do not mean you harm. They only wish the best for you. But sometimes, in doing so, they end up keeping you in your comfort zone. The magic only begins when you push or challenge yourself and step out of the comfort zone. So, dream big and more importantly, fiercely protect these dreams!


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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:25:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/in-school/signpost/ten-things-to-do-before-you-turn-17/article7872509.ece

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