Wright Lynnette, The Art of Growing Up – The teenagers guide to gaining resilience, developing positive habits and answering, ‘Who am I?’

Reviewed by Ksenia Otvarukhina at diversophy.com in collaboration with Dr. George Simons

In her latest book “The art of growing up”, Lynnette Wright focuses on nine stages making up the transformation of teenage thinking into a young adult one. Those can be summarized as: defining who you are, discovering destiny in your purpose, evaluating current knowledge, understanding how to implement said intelligence, financial planning, debating the necessity of higher education for you, defining the role of relationships, and lastly, family talk.

Lynnette aims to help the reader go through a general evaluation of existence by navigating them with questions, meditation recommendations and her personal story. The latter serves as a digestible real-life example illustrating the plot. The author starts our journey with introducing a set of “I see myself…” statements as an aid in defining our purpose, followed by three principles of finding destiny: “Be True to Yourself”, “Believe in Yourself”, and “Apply What You Learn”. That is followed by a chapter focusing on the ways of utilizing correct questioning as a tool in getting the widest knowledge on the world. Next, Lynnette shares her recommendations on planning, strategizing, self-evaluation, and provides a sample action plan table. The motif of planning is further developed in the “Money Matters” chapter, where we are given an introduction into budgeting. After that, the author turns to a lifestyle discussion, where she elaborates on the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Expanding the topic of long-term commitments, miss Wright explores the higher education necessity and looks at contemporary options of self-development. That is followed by an introduction to relationship matters. Here the writer explains the differences between love and infatuation, talks about the importance of understanding of how influential such emotions can be. Family is the final topic of this book. Here Lynnette provides a set of inherited values to keep in mind when taking a leap into the adult world.

Personally, this read helped me to put my own thoughts into perspective and check back on the questions I avoid discussing with myself as a nineteen-year-old. Nevertheless, I had several points to disagree with. In the very beginning, the author talks about defining “the new you”, which I consider to be unnecessary, as my understanding of a human is based on the notion of the ever-changing river. In simple words, when entering adulthood, there is no “new” you, it’s the same human, though slightly more experienced.  “Vocation” is another concept I disagree with. I assume it to be slightly outdated. We live in a fast-paced world, where it is more and more common to see people switch their field completely within 5 years of activity. It also feels as though the author assumes all fundamentals and that one goal are possible to be set this early on, which I just can't agree with. Life is so complex, having a single light on the other end is simply unsafe.

Speaking of choices, I didn’t really understand what was meant by: "Try to screen out all the negativity that comes at you in the form of social media". I say, just don't follow things that make you feel bad. For example. if I don't want to hear about Trump, I just don't watch the news. If we look at the topic of food, I don't understand the author telling a teen to avoid ice-cream and crisps. My parents never limited me in those, provided I was having them after dinner. Besides, I quit drinking Coke a couple of years ago as I realised the feeling after consuming it was not worth it’s taste. I believe a healthy diet can only be appreciated with time and experience.

In my opinion this book should be read by 8 to10 year-olds. I don’t think it is suitable for teenagers over 14, as it lacks depth in the topics of relationships, for instance. "In simple terms, romantic love is an intimate relationship between a man and woman." – this seems like a shallow definition. Raises questions: “Isn't love just between people? And not necessarily two?” What I wish this book had is discussions about casual sex, contraception, gender/sexual/romantic orientation, emotional manipulation in love, friendships and love, parents and love, mental illnesses and romance, body image relation to sex, - these are the things that bothered me as a teen. Substance abuse is an acute topic that was also completely avoided in the book. And by substance I don’t mean sugar or salt. Teenage drinking and drug abuse, the influence of idols’ fashionable lifestyles, which involve casual smoking, are extremely important to be talked about.

That set aside, I must say that this book gives a good introduction on maintaining mental stability, positivity and finding self-worth, as well as meditation practices, approaching the unknown and long-term planning. The bits I related to the most were: "The secret to having it all is believing you already have it." and "Another reason to wait before pursuing a romantic relationship is to allow yourself time to build your confidence, so that you can understand your true value and self-worth, instead of basing it on whether you are involved in a romantic relationship."

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