Sunday, July 22 , 2018, 4:28 am | Fair 66º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Thinking About Getting Engaged, Looking for Life’s Plan, Feeling Like a Third Wheel

Question from Brent

How do you know when you’re ready to get engaged?

Weezy

There are many factors to be weighed while making such an important life decision. My first impulse is to tell you that if you have to ask then you are probably not ready.

Getting engaged means getting ready to get married. You should not do this unless or until you know very well who you are and where your life is going. You need to have a strong, personal plan. And then you need to be certain that your partner’s personal plan supports yours and vice versa.

You will not find yourself in another person. You will not find yourself in a husband, a wife or a baby. You will only find yourself in YOU. Do that BEFORE you blend your path with another’s path for life.

This school film from 1950 should help you figure things out. At the very least, watch this for the acting:

(Old TV Time video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Seth

Dear Weezy, I’m a junior in high school and I keep getting asked now what I want to do after high school. I’ve been on a soul search for months about this, I’m the kind of person who likes to know my plans far before I get down the road. I just want to have an idea for my own self, and not only because everyone is asking.

I’m a Christian and I strongly feel that God gives you a certain gift at birth and wants you to use that gift to serve him and others. I’ve tried to think about what it is and I cannot figure it out.

It seems like I’m not good at anything. Everyone is better than me at everything. So this makes it hard to find out what I want my life’s work to be. I don’t want it to be something ordinary that has no meaning. I want to know I’m impacting others.

A lot of the pressure for finding what I’m meant to do comes from my dad. His entire life  is messed up from not choosing his work wisely. I see the effects of what it does to him on a daily basis, and I don’t want it to be me.

I know nothing is ever perfect but I just don’t want to end up on the wrong path. Please tell me how I can find within myself what I’m meant to do and maybe can you share how you found your life’s work, too? Thank you.

Weezy

Sure, but let’s start with you. I think that a big predictor of future success is your intent and your sense of purpose. You already have an abundance of that. Your intentions are very, very good. Therefore, I am confident that you will succeed.

You may want to ask your dad if he was this focused on his future at your age. Find out what he was like at 18 and at 22. He probably was not THIS interested in doing well and helping others.

I believe that we are all given MANY gifts. Our job is to pull them out of ourselves and to blend them in a way that is productive and enriching to ourselves and others. Most high school juniors are still pretty foggy on the specifics of their futures, and your current plan and agenda should be very full with looking at and applying to colleges.

Colleges and universities and training programs serve many purposes. Among these are providing you with four years of learning and discovering ... not just externally but internally.

Who are you? What lights you up? What is your purpose? Any even blurry answer to that question is waiting for you six years down your road. Right now the answer to an inquiry is “I’m applying to colleges.”

While you are still in high school, you can also involve yourself in service organizations. Giving back allows you to feel immediately purposeful. It takes you out of your own head and shows you what a difference your life can make.

When it comes to talents, I know that it is very difficult not to compare yourself to others, but from what I am reading your compassion and your good intentions are at a genius level for someone your age. This may be a more outstanding attribute than being the best person in your high school at hitting a baseball.

I am not intending to demean sports. I am simply saying that certain gifts are given more attention at your age. While others really come into the light when you get out into the world.

You do not have to be in such a hurry to figure out what you will do with your life. Your only responsibility is to do SOMETHING that matters. Plan to further your education, and let the rest unfold to you as you mature and progress.

I earned my degree in teaching, then moved to Los Angeles and got into the entertainment field. I wound up founding a company called Premiere Radio Networks, which is now a division of I Heart Radio & Media. I could never have seen any of that coming when I was your age.

I am a big fan of internships, service organizations and community involvement. Do all of these things. Work hard. Make yourself indispensable and you will do very well at life. I promise.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Penny

Me and my friend, Hannah, have been best friends since sixh grade, and I introduced her to my other friend, Ashleigh, and after one day, Hannah and Ashleigh have become best friends and they pushed me away and left me out of everything. I talked to both of them that I felt left out and pushed away. but now Hannah won’t talk to me and I just want my best friend back.

Weezy

Talking out a problem is extremely important, but HOW we talk is critical. When we are hurt, the first impulse is to cry out. But hurting someone else will never heal you. Rather, it is critical that you simply tell your friends how you feel.

It is also helpful to always bare in mind that although friendships can seem very permanent when you are really young, they are often be pretty fluid during childhood. Some can solidify themselves with time as you grow up. Meaning that any friendship that survives the fire of childhood is probably forged for life. But for you it is entirely possible that these two kids are not going to be the ones who get to go the distance with you.

It’s OK to learn that now because it frees you up to find better friends. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I know it really, really hurts. But stay classy. Don’t beg. Don’t issue ultimatums. Don’t ask someone to choose between you and someone else. They will ALWAYS choose the person who is not asking them to choose.

Appear to be busy and happy. Don’t whine about being left out. Act like you barely even noticed. I know this is hard. It’s called “acting,” because it’s not how you really feel.

Usually I am a huge fan of honesty. But in this type of friendship triangle it’s a good idea to be cooler than the moment. When you are alone with your original friend you can say, “To be honest, I just really miss you ...” Let her talk and see where that goes. But keep yourself open to new and possibly better friendships.

And yes, even grownups face friend triangles:

(BuzzFeedViolet video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara​. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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