Teens Seeking Life Balance in the Santa Ynez Valley | Elle Arvesen | Journalist

A balanced life is the key to a good life. For adolescents, this balance is crucial. I know from experience that if life is all about work and not play, mental, physical and emotional health can be sacrificed.

During months of pandemic containment, life was boring because school was pretty much my only priority and I couldn’t hang out with friends or travel anywhere. As I mentioned in my previous articles, every day felt like Groundhog Day. This monotony contributed to the deterioration of my sanity, especially when I had nothing to look forward to (going out with friends, going out, etc.) to keep me alive.

Now that life is back to normal, what to do for the adolescents of the Santa Ynez Valley? Unfortunately, not much.

Before the pandemic, the only thing for teens in the valley to do – if they wanted to do anything other than walk around Solvang or take car rides – was to go to the movies. I have so many fond memories of going to the Buellton Cinema, from when I was in first grade until my first year in high school. Now it’s being turned into an In-N-Out burger. It doesn’t matter if there’s already a McDonald’s right next to where the In-N-Out is going to be built, it’s still going to be built. I remember talking about a potential bowling alley and zipline park being created in the valley, but those ideas fizzled out.

Of course, Santa Ynez has plenty of activities for adults, mostly wine tasting, but it’s for adults, not teenagers.

Even though there isn’t much for us to do, we always find things to do: we take car rides, we walk around Solvang, and … well, that’s about it. .

It’s illegal for licensed teenagers under the age of 18 to drive with other minors in the car, so what does that let us do? Hang out with each other? Well, there is still a pandemic going on.

Of course, there is always school, sports and clubs, but in the summer the monotony comes back and hits. Unless you are lucky enough to go on vacation all summer, you stay home and maybe go to the beach occasionally. I tried walking around Solvang last summer on July 4th, and well, let’s just say I won’t be doing it again anytime soon.

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Like I said, it’s important to have a balance in your life. Without fun activities in the Valley, what are teenagers supposed to do to achieve this balance?

Many older generations complain that Gen Z are spending too much time on their phones. On our screens, we are connected with the rest of the world. We can play games, talk to friends, watch movies, read books, listen to music, etc. How are we supposed to get out and enjoy where we live if there is nothing to do where we live?

Without a doubt, the Santa Ynez Valley is one of the most beautiful places in California. It’s fine if a teenager enjoys hiking, biking or surfing, but where are the things to do when you want to relax? Where are the bowling alleys or the cinemas? All I’m saying is that the Santa Ynez Valley has the potential to appeal not only to the older generations, but to the younger ones as well.

Hopefully our community leaders will recognize the importance of recreational activities for teens, and this will be something we can look forward to in the future.

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Elle Arvesen is a local high school student and SYV News Teen Life columnist.

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