If you’ve been around here for awhile, you may have seen today’s spotlight teen on my photography page. As I was thinking about who would be a good person to talk about making the best of things, Elaine kept coming to mind. When you read her responses and thoughts, I think you’ll understand why she is exactly the right person to touch on this topic.
(1) Tell everyone a little about yourself.
My name is Elaine Brletich; I am 17 years old and will turn 18 this month. I love reading, writing, photography and fashion design. I love kids and plan on majoring in early childhood education through BYU-I. After graduating from high school at the end of this school year, I will have completed the past 4 1/2 years of school through homeschooling.
(2) Let’s talk about change. You’ve moved around a lot. What has helped you adjust to all the change in your life?
I have moved a total of nine times so far in my life and I have used different things to adjust throughout each time. One of the ways that I still use has to do with finding friends. I’ve always had a hard time finding friends but for the past couple moves, once I had at least one solid friend, I push myself to reach out to other peers in hopes of befriending them.
Other ways that have helped me adjust have been looking forward as the move progresses in the hopes that I will learn something from it or help others to learn something. It’s never easy leaving a place that has come to mean so much to me, but knowing that the gospel and the church is the same no matter where I am, definitely helps me adjust too. This last move one of my first activities with the youth group included a temple trip and that feeling of peace and comfort that washes over me whenever I enter the temple didn’t change. It didn’t matter that it was a temple I’d never been to before, it still has the same spirit as every other one I’ve been to.
(3) What are your top 3 tips for your peers on how to make the best of any situation?
It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but try and find something about the situation that you know you can be glad about, kind of like ‘the glad game’ that Pollyanna plays in the book by Eleanor H Porter. Also, don’t forget about the Atonement! It’s not just there for us to use when we want to repent, it’s there for us to draw strength from whenever we need to. Because Christ went through what He did for us, He knows all our pains and sorrows - ALL of them. He knows exactly how you feel and can help so much because of that. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun no matter what; LAUGH! Doesn’t matter if it’s with parents, siblings or friends, so long as you remember that just because you’re trying to make the best of something doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the moment and enjoy it.
(4) Do you have any secret tricks or rituals to help pull yourself out of a funk?
I find that I write best when I feel emotional; it not only helps me to more clearly recognize my feelings but calms me down and helps me realize what I need to do with those feelings whether it’s expand on them, overcome them, or work through them. If I don’t feel like writing I’ll hide somewhere and pray and sort out my feelings alongside the companionship of the spirit.
(5) How have you benefited from moving so many times?
I’ve benefited from moving so much in a couple of ways. The friends I make in one area are always extremely special, not to mention the experiences I was able to have with them. Moving gives me a chance to continue to make friends and have experiences I may not have been able to otherwise. I also have new chances to serve, not only within my church ward and community but each move provides ways for me to serve my family as well.
(6) What lessons have you learned from homeschooling?
I’ve learned a lot through homeschooling and not just academics. I am able to do my gospel study alongside my regular schoolwork which is something I enjoy. Being homeschooled has given me an opportunity to work during normal school hours and even though I think I have more time than many teens my age who work, I am still learning how to balance working and school. I also have the chance to volunteer at a local preschool. With plans to become a teacher, I have definitely learned a lot about what I need to be prepared for.
Being able to spend more time with my family has definitely been a blessing, especially as I am able to grow closer to them. It’s something that I’ve only started to actually take advantage of as the time for me to leave for college looms closer. But the importance of family that this experience has taught me will definitely be something I intend to use in the future.
(7) What/Who do you turn to for advice? What is your favorite piece of advice you’ve been given? What is your favorite piece of advice to give?
I turn to my parents and my sister most often for advice, but also close friends. I have two pieces of advice that I’ve been given and I repeat them to myself a ton, especially as we move - “Bloom where you are planted” and “There’s no comfort in a growth zone, and no growth in a comfort zone.” My favorite piece of advice to give is “Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.”
(8) As you look toward the future, what are you most excited about?
The things that I’m most excited about are probably also the ones I’m most terrified of. Marriage is one, and I’ve mentioned before that I love kids. While the idea of being a teacher is exciting, I’m more excited at the idea of starting a family and becoming a mother.
(9) Do you have a personal motto or mission statement?
I have two, a sort of silly one and a more serious one: “Foods before dudes” and “there’s never enough darkness for you to allow your light to dim.”
(10) I know you like to read, what 3 books would you recommend as a feel good/pick me up?
Laugh It Up! by Candace Payne
Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
(11) What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am not brave. And what I mean by that is it takes a lot to push me to do something I’m scared to do. I don’t like leaving my comfort zone, and when I do I start off kind of regretfully. However, once I have put myself out there and once it’s over, I’m usually glad I did. I end up learning from the experience and wonder why I was so scared to do it in the first place. It has spurred me to choose a New Year’s resolution that involves putting myself out there more often and to continue to learn from those experiences.
(12) What do you hope people say about you when you’re not around?
I hope people say that I’m uplifting to be around and help them forget their worries or whatever it is they’re stressing about, even if it was only for a short time. Or that they’d come to me if they needed help from a friend. One of my favorite scriptures is 3 Nephi 18:24 “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world…” and it’s what I based one of my mottos on, because I want to be a light and I hope that people see me as such.
(13) I share my story because…
…I know it’s not always easy keeping an optimistic outlook on situations we’re not looking forward to, but I know how much easier it can make them. I also know how these experiences can bless us and help us to learn and how we can become better and stronger through them. I’ve noticed myself rely more on the Lord and His guidance instead of my own strength as experiences come and go. Because of this, I know that I wouldn’t want to have missed out on those experiences.
Don’t you just love her positive attitude? I really admire people (especially teens) who are able to find the good things in any situation - especially the hard ones. Thanks Elaine, for sharing your thoughts.