This week, the Teenage Therapy cohosts graduated from high school, marking the end of an era for the five friends. The team, which consists of Kayla, Gael, Isaac, Mark, and Thomas, started the podcast during their sophomore year to document and explore the precarious realm of teendom. Since then, they’ve grown up in front of an ever-expanding audience that tunes in to glean raw, unfiltered, and brutally honest takes on the world.
The cast recently created a podcast playlist, Who We Can Be, that explores the theme “building our future.” For the Record caught time with Gael while he was at graduation rehearsal to talk about that future. Gael shared his thoughts on forgiving your past self and the importance of learning from books. (Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga have been the most influential for him). Read on for our edited conversation.
1. The five episodes in the Who We Can Be playlist span four podcasts. Why did you choose those episodes to feature to speak to the theme of “building our futures”?
When I was thinking about this playlist, I was really thinking about the message that I wanted to spread. I wanted to highlight episodes that are all about growth—of the potential of growth that we hope for, and the mistakes that we made in the past, that we will make in the future, that we can learn from. So one episode is about feeling like a burden and getting therapy and validating your emotions. The reason I chose that is because I think a big part of acknowledging who you are in the past is having to face yourself in the present and who you are now. A lot of that revolves around getting professional help.
Then, the next one is about self-deprecating humor and how to love yourself. And that’s all about learning to embrace the habits of self-deprecation, learning to replace them with self-love and confidence in yourself. The other one, that’s “A Melody of Loneliness,” was more about the feeling of loneliness that we all get. And then after that, I put one about how to lead with self-awareness and vulnerability. And those are a lot of techniques as to how to communicate effectively, because communication is a big part in growth and in healthy relationships. Then lastly, “We Need to Read Books.” I wanted to acknowledge that a lot of growth comes from important stories. Whether it’s in a book or movie or a show or a podcast, when you tell important stories, you learn more. And it’s those life lessons that stick with you and mold who you are.
2. People have always said that “children are the future,” but this era of technology and social media has given a voice to youth like no other. What opportunities does that present?
A lot of teenagers have found innovative and creative ways to make themselves heard. I think that comes from the fact that we see all these issues with the world, and right now we’re very optimistic in the way that we want to approach these issues. And we feel desperate and, you know, sometimes even helpless that older people aren’t fixing these issues. So we realized that we had to make our own movements and fix them ourselves. Many young people are passionate about things like climate change, and a lot of people are now starting to get passionate about the working class and abolishing capitalism and not exploiting workers. So I think the effects that technology is having on the way we communicate are incredible because it allows us to engage with different people, with different cultures, and fully immerse yourself in the different issues around the world.
3. What about that power and ability scares you?
I think something that’s a little bit scary, some of the consequences or dangers of it, is that we’re going to be prone to sometimes making the wrong decision. I think there will be times when teenagers will try to do something for the better and realize maybe we’re not all that educated on the issue and severely miscalculated the goal. And what we might have thought was a good thing, in the end, might harm communities. And I think it’s just about learning to do our own due diligence and do our own research and educate ourselves, and not necessarily always believe the biggest trends around.
4. What does the future look like to you?
I think of a lot of adaptability, to be honest. I think the fact that technology is advancing so rapidly, that young people will take the ability to adapt to the current world and adjust a lot better than previous generations. So I think in that way, when it comes to the future, our generation is really going to be better and not fall behind at being aware and empathetic to the issues the next young generation will face.
5. What’s one takeaway you’re hoping new listeners (especially those who might not listen to your show) might get from this podcast playlist?
It’s OK to have made mistakes in the past. It’s OK to acknowledge that the person you were then is not you now. I think a lot of us struggle with forgiving ourselves. And we believe that the mistakes we’ve made in the past define who we can be in the future and who we are today. But it’s not. And the main takeaway from this playlist is, no matter who you were before, you have a new chance every day to be someone you’re proud of. And we want to acknowledge that if you work enough to redeem yourself, it is possible to grow and grow. It is possible. So it’s, you know, who do you want to be?
Determine who you want to be on with a little help from Teenager Therapy’s podcast playlist.