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Lucy's Life Tips for Teenagers
Each week Lucy puts together or finds articles she feels are relevant and of interest to girls her age. She addresses issues as wide ranging as Bullying and Peer Pressure to the 10 Essentials for a Hike in the Colorado Rockies and How to Pick the Right Boy. Her articles include timely links to websites and blogs where you can get additional information and thoughts on the week's topic. She LOVES to get your feedback, so please leave a comment (in the form at the bottom of each positing) when you read one of the articles, or contact us and let us know what you'd like her to write about in the future.
As I get ready for the hiking and climbing season I though it was a good idea to resurect the ol "How to Poop in the Woods" post! There you are out and about on your first real overnight backpacking or camping trip and suddenly you get that familiar feeling. You have to go but where? Going to the bathroom outside honestly takes some getting used to, so you’ll want to read up on how to do it properly before the urge strikes.
Here are the basics so you can enjoy your trip with a bit less discomfort:
1. Choose a spot ahead of time a good distance from the trail or camp and at least 200 feet from any water source like a stream or lake. This will keep the area cleaner and keep you from contaminating any nearby water sources in case you want to wash up or use it for drinking or washing your dishes.
2. Hopefully you brought a trowel with you and some toilet paper (see my blog 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Rocky Mountains) because your next step, after finding a suitable spot far enough from camp and any water sources is to dig a cat hole. Make sure it is at least 6 to 8 inches deep and keep the dirt you dig out nearby so you can use it to fill the hole with as you use it. Marking the spot with a rock or two stacked together is also helpful. Other hikers will then know they shouldn’t try to dig where you have done your business and it will discourage critters from uncovering your handiwork.
Back when I was growing up, it seemed pretty important to be into the same sort of stuff my friends were. We all liked the same clothes, same activities and same music. We hung out together all the time and had the same friends. Sometimes we even talked the same or liked the same colors or food. I think at the time liking the same things as my friends was the way I made friends in the first place, because of common interests. We all just kind of gravitated together and had found each other because how much we had in common. Now I realize that as I got older it wasn’t quite so simple anymore.
As I look back, it seems that right around middle school things started to change a little bit. My friends and I started kind of having preferences for different things; I’d like a different boy in our favorite band than Keri, for instance. Sometimes these differences were no big deal, but other times, when I wasn’t as sure of my choice or the issue was more important, I actually got really nervous about expressing my point of view. I’d worry a lot that my friends or other people wouldn’t like what I thought or agree with me, that somehow they’d think my ideas were stupid or I was being immature. So sometimes I’d hold back just a little in a group and wait to see what others are doing. Then, if it wasn’t too terrible, I’d just agree with them rather than risk getting made fun of, which may not have even happened, but I sure did worry about it. Sometimes doing that got me through being uneasy because everybody seemed happy when I agreed with them, but other times following the crowd landed me in some pretty lousy situations, some of which were hard to get out of.
Guest Blog Post:
Vacations are a time for the family to spend time together, enjoying new environments, experiences and activities. There are many benefits to taking the family on an adventure and sports activity trip and these holidays are available at affordable prices
A Different Type of Holiday
Many adults become bored with the same conventional family vacations year after year but believe having a family prevents them from taking part in more adventurous and sporting trips. But adventure does not have to end when you settle down and have a family. Going with your family can improve an adventure and sports vacation, allowing you to view the world from a young person's perspective and bond together as a family. Sports vacations such as the upcoming England Cricket Tour to India provide families with the chance to share an interest as well as experience a new culture together. You will get to see fantastic matches in destinations such as Mumbai and Kolkata, while introducing your children to educational sights and widening their understanding of the world.
Adventure and sports vacations are fantastic way of getting children off their computers and developing a passion for sports. Taking children to a cricket match in a cold and dreary ground in the UK may not be the best introduction to the game. However, a trip to the West Indies on the 2015 tour, complete with sandy beaches, coral reefs and days of sunshine, can be the best way to enjoy the sport. Sports tours such as the HSBC Rugby Sevens are held in some of the best stadiums in the world, including the purpose-built seven-pitch complex in the Dubai desert. These tours allow the family to soak up the atmosphere of an international game and enjoy exotic locations that will make them the envy of their friends.
For a long time in my life, I felt like the only way to keep bad things from happening to me was to try to control as much about my life as I could. It seemed like when I made a diligent effort to act in a particular way, I could avoid some potentially uncomfortable situations. Over time, it started to seem that, because I often avoided any outcome that caused me fear, pain or diappointment, that I had discovered the “right” way to do things, and I would become very upset when things would happen that would cause me to be unable to control the circumstances in my life. I had become very used to a particular routine and, if I deviated from it, I was afraid I’d lose control over the state of my life.
It took me many years to develop the habit of feeling as if I had to be in control all the time, but it was kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way. The more I avoided situations that made me try new things, meet new people and face my fears, the more comfortable I was. There was no risk of failure, of feelings of inadequacy, and I could generally predict how situations would go based on the efforts that I applied. There were fewer variables, so acting this way made it feel like I was in control of what happened to me and like no one could make me a victim.
As I grew older, I found myself stuck in a pattern of behavior that seriously affected my enjoyment of life. I was to some extent avoiding painful situations by trying to control everything, but I was also missing out on quite a bit…I was lonely and very often bored and wasn’t really LIVING. Every little change that would happen, every disturbance, began to make me panic because I didn’t know what to expect.
For a very long time, death was something I never really had to face. I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my life that I get to continue to spend time with my parents and most of my grandparents (my maternal grandfather died when I was 16) and never really had much reason to think about my own mortality or that of those I loved. I guess I always just assumed and took for granted that the people I cared about would always be with me. As I’ve gotten older, a few sad instances have reminded me just how precious our time here on earth really is, and I have been faced with loss of the people and pets I love very much.
Dealing with death is never an easy process. There’s the whole sequence of emotions you go through from sorrow to anger to denial and finally to acceptance before you really get to a place where you can fully grasp just how much impact such an event can have on you and how it can change your life in numerous ways. For many of us our first experience with death is when one of our cherished pets dies. I remember a cottontail rabbit I had rescued on my grandfather's farm and brought home to the city. Dad had quickly made a cage for our new and unexpected family member to protect him from our large German Shepherd, and Peter the Rabbit lived several weeks. I had to go away to Girl Scout camp for two weeks and the day I returned home my loving mom had taken Peter's cage out to the yard so he could get some fresh air and sunshine. Upon my arrival, I went immediately to check on him and the cage had been torn to pieces and there were large chucks of dog hair stuck to the ripped up screening. I never knew if Peter had escaped to live another day or had died at the paws of my beloved dog, but my heart was broken and my emotions raged.
When I was growing up, the start of each school year was a time of both dread and eager anticipation. I couldn’t wait to get back to school to see my friends and I used to love getting all those new supplies and clothes in preparation. I’d often spend the last few days leading up to school packing and repacking my backpack and picking out which outfit I would wear that first morning. But back to school was also filled with dread because it meant lots of early mornings, homework, and fears about having to deal with kids and teachers that weren’t always the nicest or most friendly people.
Every year when school started, I’d fear being in class with the kinds who picked on me or be afraid of being too shy to make friends in my new classroom. I’d get nervous that I wouldn’t know anyone, or would forget my locker combination, or that I'd get lost on the route between classes. Once we got further into the school year, a lot of times the dread for me far outweighed the excitement of going back to school and I began to even dislike the idea of going at all and I would try to find excuses to stay home where I could avoid the situations that scared me and the possibility of getting poor grades and disappointing my parents. To make matters worse, it seemed like there were always different groups of kids at school that hung out together based on the way they dressed or the music they liked, and for a long time I didn’t feel like I belonged in any of those groups. I didn't fit in with the goth kids or the nerdy kids or the athletic ones. I kind of kept to myself and it made school kind of a lonely and sucky place to go.
Back when I was in elementary school, it seemed pretty important to be into the same sort of stuff my friends were. We all liked the same clothes, same activities and same music. We hung out together all the time, did the same things, and had the same friends. Sometimes we even talked the same or liked the same colors or food. I think at the time liking the same things as my friends was the way I made friends in the first place, because of common interests. We all just kind of gravitated together and found each other because how much we had in common. Now I realize that as I got older it wasn’t quite so simple as that.
As I look back, it seems that right around middle school things started to change a little bit. My friends and I started kind of having preferences for different things; I’d like a different boy in our favorite band than Keri did, for instance. Sometimes these differences were no big deal, but other times, when I wasn’t as sure of my choice or the issue was more important, I actually got really nervous about expressing my point of view. I’d worry a lot that my friends or other people wouldn’t like what I thought or they wouldn't agree with me and that somehow they’d think my ideas were stupid or I was being immature. So sometimes I’d hold back just a little in a group and wait to see what others are doing. Then, if it wasn’t too terrible, I’d just agree with them rather than risk getting made fun of, which may not have even happened, but I sure did worry about it. Sometimes doing that got me through being uneasy because everybody seemed happy when I agreed with them, but other times following the crowd landed me in some pretty lousy situations, some of which were hard to get out of.
I remember like it was yesterday that first morning of waking up to the start of the school year my first year of middle school. I was excited, as I was every year, about the new clothes and supplies and seeing my friends, but that first year was a little different. I remember I was also kind of scared of all the new things I was going to face that year, like changing classes for the first time, having a locker instead of a cubby hole in the classroom, the bell going off between classes and not being in the same room all day with all my friends. I worried a lot about whether the bigger kids would be mean to me, if I’d remember where my classes were and if I’d be able to get my locker open. My class schedule didn’t have lunch on it either, which made me pretty nervous. How was I supposed to know if I’d see any of my old friends at lunch? Plus there was a whole new building to get used to and all new teachers. It was pretty intense.
Middle school can be a pretty daunting experience if you are headed there for the first time, but don’t sweat it so much! Here are some things I learned when I was in middle school that I hope will make your adjustment easier.
1. The first day, just shove all your school supplies in your locker and carry around a notebook with some paper (or better yet your agenda if you have one and if you don't – get one) and a pen or pencil to take notes. You’ll mainly spend that first day finding your way around, getting to know your teachers and getting your new books. Don’t worry about what you’ll do with all your stuff just yet. Your teachers will let you know what you need for each class. Just be sure to write it down.
From an early age in my house I learned to be grateful for what I had. I always had to say thanks and write out thank you cards when people gave me gifts. Through having pets, I learned how to take care of those who can't easily take care of themselves and by having nice things I was taught it is important to take care of and cherish what you have. My parents spent time with me each Christmas buying things for families that didn’t have what I did and volunteering to serve food to the homeless or less fortunate through organizations in our community. I’m glad I had those experiences growing up because it not only taught me to be thankful every day for the things and people in my life, it also taught me compassion.
There’s something to be said for remembering that there is always someone who has it worse than you. It makes your problems seem small sometimes by comparison to those of folks who don’t know where their next meal will come from or where they will find a safe place to sleep. Suddenly having the newest shoes or the latest pair of jeans seems selfish when you consider the needs of others. As I’ve grown older and traveled to much less fortunate areas of the world and have discovered just how much we are all interconnected and depend on each other, showing compassion for others has become a huge part of my life.
I’ve always had a special connection with my mom. She was the one who primarily took care of me growing up and taught me any number of things from how to tie my shoes and how to use the bathroom to learning how to deal with my first broken heart when I got older and started dating. I don’t always agree with everything she says, but I love her just the same. In fact, sometimes Mom tries to teach me things about life that I think are just plain wrong or I don’t want to hear, but I know she mainly does so out of love, to save me the pain of learning the lesson the hard way, as she sometimes had to do.
Mom taught me all kinds of practical lessons when I was a small child, but, whether she realized it or not, she also taught me how to be a daughter and a woman. That included learning to love and respect others even when I think they’re wrong. She taught me the importance of listening and critical thinking as well as how to use my knowledge of myself as an individual to make sure the decisions I make are right for me. She gave me the encouragement to try new things and the belief in myself that I could do anything I put my mind to.