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October 12, 2013

A Word of Advice: It's OK to be selfish sometimes

The Daily Star

---- — Sometimes we’re just all we’ve got behind us, and that’s pretty OK when you think about it. 

The world we live in is a very interconnected one, between being connected to the Internet in at least three different ways at all times and all places, and either being on the Internet or thinking about what’s buzzing on it in the backs of our minds. So it’s not really difficult to see why humans, especially young ones particularly adept in technological matters, have seemingly lost touch with their senses of self. 

A term typically reserved when speaking about romantic relationships, people these days have grown reliant on having constant attention and approval from their fellow human beings, for better, and for worse.

Now, being that this is Teen Talk, and we’re all about that slick and hip millennial lifestyle, I won’t talk about how terrible my generation is, how we need to go back to the good old days of eight-tracks, drinking milkshakes, and protesting without knowing what we’re protesting, but even I, as a nearly 24/7 user of technology, will admit that every rose has its thorn. 

We’re attached to our devices to the point that it’s become almost a part of our nature as humans. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if our next step in evolution was to grow Google glasses biologically out of our skulls for perpetual use. 

I myself can’t even go 20 minutes when not at work or in school without checking my phone, laptop or other doodad. Looking for sparks, connections to the outside world, like I’m deserted on an island inside my head looking for a ship to pass by. 

This isn’t the best advance humanity’s made in modern times. Thanks to this increase in communication and increase in reliance on those around us, when times get tough and it’s you against the world, it can be a bit like hopping on a bike for the first time.

A lot of the time, this can happen to people after things such breakups, where it’s possible that people may have placed all of their well-being in one basket. They may be left wondering where their friends are after they declined every invitation to gatherings offered to them and then finding out they wouldn’t live their dream to to live in Greenland with three kids, a mansion, all while going gangbusters working a job as an astronaut while the wife is the new JK Rowling. 

They’re left alone, away from the person they once confided in with everything, and confused as to how to live not as a piece of a conglomerate, but as an individual.

For this reason, in all honesty, it’s OK to be a little “selfish” with yourself, because sometimes you’re all you’ve got. You should never live within any sort of “high school marriage” in which you spend nearly all of your time with your mate and push friends away, because at that point, you’re playing all-or-nothing with the relationship. This is volatile and almost guaranteed to have an expiration date, due to the state of high school-aged life as a “transition period” for teenagers becoming adults, doing things like going to college and whatnot. 

You should never feel as if you need a mate. In fact, you should love your life before you chase after a love life. Otherwise you’ll never get to focus on what really matters during this stage of life, like shaping our futures with hard work in school, finding our passion to project into a future career, and finding out who we are as people, which is far more important than finding out who we can be when with another person. 

I’m not saying never chase relationships, but I’m saying that more important than anything in this stage of life is discovering, enriching and loving ourselves. After all, we’re going to all be living with ourselves for decades to come, guaranteed, so we may as well learn to make good company with ourselves ahead of time!

Austin Czechowski is a junior at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from him? Send him an email at, or send him a letter to “Teen Talk: A Word of Advice,” C/O The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at