Translating “Teen” To English: “Go Away”

You might assume, as I once did, that the only people who are in the need of a little “ME” time now and again are people (grownups) who otherwise get very little. As a parent, I have come to learn- not so much actually. Apparently, even people who have seemingly vast quantities of undisturbed solitude, (teenagers), feel it is their basic human right to have, yet, even more. Of course, these people (teenagers) argue that they don’t, in fact, have as much quality alone time as you (grownups) might think. They communicate to you that, in the context of their individual existence, this misunderstanding creates unnecessary, but easily remedied, confusion and animosity, (not the exact words of a teenager). The solution is for all involved, (grownup people and teenage people), to employ the same language when discussing the perceived inequities, even when the circumstances seem to vary dramatically.

Like me, at the end of a long day (or week) of planning and executing your strategy for managing the numerous responsibilities, stresses and activities involved in orchestrating the “work-life” balance, the last thing you want to hear from those for whom you have been performing this “balancing” act when you finally get just a brief moment to open that book and a bottle of wine is, “Mom/Dad, I’m hungry”. So, your response from the other side of the closed bathroom door of your en suite might seem insensitive to their needs when you say, “Can I just have a few minutes please?”.

Having been up until the wee hours of the morning the night before scrolling through Vines and texting their friends when they should have either been doing their homework or sleeping, and now still in bed Snapchatting under their covers while binge watching Netflix, what they’re trying to tell you when you warmly call their name from the bottom of the stairs because breakfast is ready and they say, “(Grrr.)WHAT!?”, is that they feel exactly the same way.

As a valued, non-renewable resource, the need for “ME” time is universal, as defined in the context of those (grownups and teenagers) by whom it is pursued. Alas, finding the time is less the problem than finding the right words to use in ensuring that, once you do, you can savor it. This next lesson in Translating “Teen” To English, “Go Away”, will help.


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