18/08/2016 10:34 AM AEST | Updated 18/08/2016 1:26 PM AEST

What It's Really Like Being 14 In 2016

You're trying to be the picture-perfect teen with good grades, get your fastest time in the 200m (or whatever event or sport you're passionate about), have the best Instagram feed, the most likes on Facebook. It's an age where a person is defined by not what they do, but how many followers they have.

It's hairy business. Literally.
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It's hairy business. Literally.

This is my life at the age of 14. I'm not a boy and I'm not a man. I'm somewhere in the middle. It's a strange kind of limbo. Sometimes my thoughts are very childish. But, other times, my thoughts take me by surprise and I wonder, is this how a man thinks?

Being 14 means you're half mature. You get the respect you need from older people, but you can still goof around and be a child. In some ways, it's the best of both worlds.

You can annoy your teachers without getting in trouble because they still think you're 'just being kids'. One time, our whole class made an agreement not to answer any questions for the whole day. Our teacher went insane with frustration. When I'm older, I won't be able to mess around like that. I will be expected to be mature at all times.

At 14, I have my whole life spread out before me. It's a feeling of fright and excitement all at once. It's a time of evolution: a transition from child to an adult. You're trying to be the picture perfect teen with good grades, get your fastest time in the 200m (or whatever event or sport you're passionate about), have the best Instagram feed, the most likes on Facebook. It's an age where a person is defined by not what they do, but how many followers they have. But we all want to be the tallest, the fastest, the smartest, the coolest. All in one body and soul that has only been alive for fourteen years.

Plus, you're inundated with truckloads of stress through relationships, school and the harsh truth that this world is a complete mess. When we turn on the TV, we are blinded by the same horrible news: murders, suicide bombers, mass shootings, dying children. I still cannot understand what is the point of war. We still live in a world of racism. People judging one another by their skin colour makes no sense to me.

Like a forked path, at 14 you reach a road where you have to make choices. There's so much pressure to do the wrong thing.

For example, you could be at the bus stop with a friend and he could say: "Hey, do you want to wag school and go to the beach for the day instead?" Imagine the intense pressure upon you as you have an angel/devil moment. The angel tells you to go to school. The devil side of you says "One time won't hurt... and do you really want to keep being a teachers' pet?"

As we get older, I know that peer pressure gets more intense. Kids at 14 are bracing ourselves for the future, which might involve drugs or alcohol and we'll be faced with that same angel/devil moment again but with things that have far worse consequences than just wagging school for a day.

You have to hope that your childhood has given you enough strength to deal with whatever life throws at you.

Nobody likes to talk about puberty. But it's a fact of life at fourteen. When you get a growth spurt, you realise how good it is to be tall.

I've found the whole 'voice breaking' phase quite interesting. It's a weird feeling. Recently, I was talking to a really good looking girl. I thought it was going well until my voice turned into some alien-like creature trying to communicate with a mixture of high pitched and deep tones and everything went downhill from there.

Being 14 also means crazy mood swings. One moment you feel you're on cloud nine, then you have days when you're down in the dumps. Then there's all the hairy nonsense I don't want to get into.

At 14, family is a big part of my life. It's my parents who love me and would carry me to bed if I fell asleep on the couch in the middle of a movie. They try to relate to what I'm going through but, the truth is, they went through adolescence a long time ago and their memories are very thin. Also, times have changed a lot since they were my age. How would they have behaved if they had the internet in 'the olden days?' Would they have been addicted to an iPad or resisted temptation? Would they have lied on their social media, pretending life was going really well when it wasn't going great at all?

I'm lucky to have some really fun and caring friends, boys as well as girls. I'm an athlete and recently competed in the International Children's Games in Taiwan and I made some incredible friends there, particularly Canadian and German kids. I miss them, even though I only knew them for a short time.

My friends care about me, they keep me entertained and I know they're there for me during times when I don't want to share problems with my family.

At 14, I have my own hopes and dreams which are all unique to me. I want to achieve a lot, pursue a medical career when I'm older and, in my own way, make the world a happier place. But, in just four more years, I will be an adult. I want to enjoy being young without worrying about the future. Is it a good thing or a sad thing that my childhood will soon be over?