Teenage is an interesting and challenging time in a person’s life. On the one hand, there is a transition from childhood to adulthood that is taking place and on the other, there is the specific nature of teenage. Many teens get confused with these changing dynamics and end up making rash decisions. A teenager is not totally a child but is not totally an adult either, despite him/her thinking otherwise. A teenager doesn’t want to be treated like a kid and receive instructions for every little thing, but on the other hand, he/she must realize that they are not fully aware of their identity and responsibility as teenager.
At this phase of life, a teen is searching for his/her identity. The changes that take place at the biological, psychological and emotional levels create an imbalance and identity crisis that causes one to look for external support. For this reason, friendships become a very important part of life. Friendships enable us to achieve some sort of stability and certainty when it comes to our identity. It is absolutely vital that we make good friends, for it is the kind of friends we make that will influence the kind of identity we develop for ourselves.
While most friendships are based on love, some involve romance, and it is to these that I wish to draw attention.
All of us at some point or the other have developed romantic feelings for another person. We might harbour these feelings of attraction without ever letting the other person know, or might even ‘propose’ and enter into some sort of a relationship. All romances begin with infatuation; few reach the stage of true love. Many reach the point of marriage; some even beget children and then realize that they are not compatible or cannot really adjust to one another. Love is hard. Infatuation is the easy part. All the hand-holding, dating, walks on the beach, exchanges on the park bench, etc., are all characteristics of infatuation. They could also be signs of love but more often than not they are usually attempts at getting attention and love from someone one considers to be special.
The other form of love is a very important one but ironically is seldom spoken of. It is a love that is bound by promises and vows made before witnesses. Many teens ‘hook up’ with one another; they get into relationships that they believe are ‘serious’.
Ian Pinto, SDB, is a poet and writer with an anthology of poems, Pen Downs (2018), and numerous articles in newspapers, magazines and journals to his credit. He currently teaches at Don Bosco Agricultural School, Sulcorna, Goa.