Words by Maria Stratoudaki // Photography by Juliette Bélanger
The minute you hear any of these phrases coming out of your mom’s infuriated mouth, you can’t help rolling your eyes at her for the billionth time. Motherly wisdom is every daughter’s (and son’s) worst nightmare, for no one enjoys being lectured on the same topics, involving such cliche statements as “because I say so”. But come think of it, the majority of your mother’s rant isn’t totally uncalled for and in the right context could prove the best advice you’ll ever receive. So brace yourself and listen yet again…
- “Don skip breakfast”: We know, we know, you don’t have time; frankly no one does. On the other hand though, making a smoothie, having a yogurt parfait or even going as simple as bare milk and cereal won’t take more than 10 minutes-which you can surely save up by waking up a bit earlier than you normally do. Not one to sacrifice your sacred sleeping time? Just cut down other parts of your morning routine such as straightening your hair or checking your phone. Your mom will undoubtedly have lectured you about the vital importance of breakfast so there’s no need for me to go beyond reminding you that people who have breakfast deliver better, are more alert and in a better mood. Are you still considering it?
- “Tidy up your room”: Probably a mom’s most common rumble, you can’t go by a couple of days without hearing this odious phrase. Truth be told however, your life balance is 100% better when you work in a clean, tidy space. If you devote as much as 10 minutes a day, right after you get home or before catching up with your homework, to tidying up you won’t need to spend half of your Saturday morning, trying to declutter a weeks-worth of junk. For me, cleaning up my morning mess is part of my afternoon routine and I’ve long discovered its beneficial effects. I have immediate access to everything I need, which means no more expeditions to my wardrobe for my textbooks, plus my bedrooms gives off a calming, cozy vibe that is so lovely, especially now in the winter months. Not to mention, no more mom yells!
- “When in doubt, always carry a jacket”: Seriously though, if I had a penny every time my parents told be to carry a jacket, I could afford a Givenchy coat at last. But in light of a recent experience of mine, maybe they’re not that wrong altogether. It’s better to be seen carrying around a cardigan-which you can rock around your waist like a true fashionista- than end up getting a frost bite and spend the following week with a runny nose. Props to mom for that as well!
- “Concentrate on your studies”: As much as it sucks to admit it, our performance and overall outlook on school during our mid/late teens can dictate our college, and as a result our career, prospects to a worrisome degree. So make the pledge to really immerse yourself in your studies now that it counts and I promise you’ll see it paying it off in the long run. Even if things don’t work out quite as you’d envisioned them you won’t have to live off with the regrets that you didn’t do as well as you know you could have.
- “Pay attention to the friends you make:” Being carefree and at times even reckless is one thing and involving yourself with people who bring the worst out of you is another. Finding people whom you genuinely care about and who appreciate you back should be one of your top priorities. I feel blessed to have found my best friends and, having been associated with the “wrong people” for quite some time as well, I can honestly confess how greater a person I am with the former. Don’t get me wrong: a parent’s definition of the “bad crowd”, as in people who smoke, are sexually promiscuous etc, doesn’t always meet with the aforementioned “wrong people”. To me, these are the girls or guys who are literary poising your every move, by peer-pressuring you, harassing you, judging you or in any way bullying you. Boy, must you stay away from them. Instead be kind and open enough to detect people who will stick by in the good and the bad times alike. Those you can pour your heart to, you can be yourself around at all times, those who make you comfortable in your own skin.
- “Don’t waste your money”: I don’t know about you but I’m constantly reprimanded for spending my money irrationally, which I nearly always regret: By the time I finally locate something that makes my little shopaholic-driven heart skip, I’ve splurged all my pocket-money on unnecessary things. What I’ve discovered is that the best method to avoid this horrendous situation is to prioritize and shop accordingly. Write down all the things that you’re eyeing, their approximate prize and number them from the most important to the least. Think to yourself: “Could I get this for cheaper” (online/ on sale/ thrifted etc)? If yes, weigh your options, always baring in mind “quality over quantity”. If you learn how to manage your money now, bachelor life won’t be any trouble since you’ll be familiar with saving and budgeting.
- “Cherish your adolescence”: My mom has been claiming that her high-school and university years were her best and I’ve always been repelled by the idea that what I’m experiencing now might as well be the best it gets. I still maintain this belief to some extent but with a brand new approach. I can’t change the sucky parts of my teenage years or ease the burden of school, however I can try to make the most out of every experience and I’d advice you to do the same. Make friends, go to cafes and concerts and clubs and deserted alleys; Take a million pictures, break into each others house and eat pizzas for breakfast if that’s what you want. Because you can.