The girls in Mean Girls wear pink on Wednesdays. Though we think we leave drama and teenage angst behind when we graduate high school, the world continues to hand us lemons. We still struggle with maintaining a firm foundation of our values, discovering our identity, pursuing our purpose, developing relationships and more. The teenage angst lives on; therefore, we can still learn from young adults as they come of age. Let’s take a look at some ladies as they’ve forged their way into adulthood.
My best friend (since high school) and I recently have read Gayle Forman’s Just One Day for a buddy read. Allyson finds herself exploring Europe after her graduation, a gift from her parents to help her gain some cultural experiences in the great wide world. There, she meets a boy acting in a street Shakespeare company. Mirroring the comedy’s mixture of romance and comedic deceit, Allyson finds herself wondering where she bases her identity as well as what happened to Willem after he disappeared.
As Allyson begins college, we find her facing many familiar dilemmas for a freshman. She decides to go by Allyson again rather than the identity she tried in Europe at the insistence of her high school BFF, and she finds herself not performing well in her classes. After a meeting with her guidance counselor, she drops her science classes she took to pursue a career as a physician, a dream she later realizes is a fulfillment of her mother’s, in the interest of trying a couple new classes. Shakespeare enters the scene again as she joins a literature class where she meets her new friend Dee.
Dee contrasts Allyson as he changes his mask to match each person’s assumptions of him. Eventually, they discuss which of them truly know themselves and feels comfortable in that identity. Allyson finds herself doing well in her new classes and finally discusses her wants with her mom. As she moves forward communicating her needs and goals with those important to her, she finds an anchor for herself. Her relationships become closer and more genuine, she makes her decisions based on her values rather than someone else’s expectations and she meets her goals even if she experiences setbacks.
Unfortunately, most of us still struggle to find, own and present our true identities to those around us. We face expectations based on our roles, and we want to please others. Yet everyone ranks what they value a little differently. When we make our decisions based on what most matches our values and goals, it makes situations unfold a lot smoother. So take some time to consider how you would rank your values and then hold your dilemmas up to them. It might make it easier to move forward.