Are you happy at the moment?
I would say that I am happier now than I have been in a long time. As hectic as my life has been lately, I kind of like it that way, plus I have a great new group friends and a supportive family.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
Well, my sixteen-year-old self was newly motherless and felt the weight of the world on her shoulders so I would go back and tell her that no matter how bleak the future seems everything will get better. And things did get better. It’s always nice to know that no matter what happens you will always turn out alright in the end. I think that’s true about most things in life, not just my situation.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
The most important thing I’ve learned this year is probably that family is important. With impending college deadlines and graduation getting closer each day, I’ve realized that I won’t get to see all the smiling faces around me everyday after I go off to college. It has made me re-evaluate a lot of my previous notions about college and life away from home.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I most want to get accepted into NYU! Even though I probably won’t be able to afford it, just getting a letter that says “Hey! You’re talented enough to go to our school!” would really make my day.
What’s your secret to happiness?
Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I would probably have to say that my secret to happiness is that I’ve learned to accept things the way they are and move on. Dwelling on the bad things in life keeps you from seeing all the good things.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I don’t have any routines or rituals because I’ve never really been disciplined enough to keep them. One thing that definitely keeps me grounded, though, is theater. I have always loved watching theater and acting since I was a little kid and being in shows, writing, directing, all of it, just lets me escape from the real world for a little while. It’s my “me time” you could say.
What’s your biggest regret?
So far I haven’t made many huge mistakes that stand out to me, but I’m sure I will have plenty of time to make my share of mistakes in the future, although I do regret not picking up my Barbies as a kid, haha, my dad made sure of that!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
Well, I don’t have kids, seeing as I’m only 18, but I do take care of my siblings every day after school while my dad is at work and I would like to think that I’ve taught them a thing or two about living in the present. My little brother, especially, likes to dwell on how bad his day was at school, but I try to help him realize all the good things that happened that day too and I think it helps him, at least he hasn’t told me otherwise!
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
I would most like to change my habit of taking this personally. I have been working really hard not to be embarrassed when someone gives me constructive criticism, in fact I’m glad for it, but there is still a little part of me that cringes inside when I hear that I messed up.
Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
Well, I’m not married and I haven’t mothered any children that I know of, but I am very proud of myself and my family for moving past our hardships and not letting those bad times tear us apart. In fact, I consider that one of our greatest achievements.
When were you happiest?
The last time I remember being absolutely, serenely happy was my sixteenth birthday party. It is one of my last fun memories with my mom and it was an amazing night. There wasn’t anything particularly significant about the night, but at the time I felt like the world was mine and I knew exactly where I was headed in life. I miss that feeling.
What ten words best describe you?
Determined, devoted, loving, loyal, forgetful, goofy, sarcastic, creative, open-minded, centered
Abbi Manoucheri is an eighteen-year-old, high school senior who lives in a suburb of Sacramento, California. Daughter of GEM contributor, Dave Manoucheri, she has been an integral part of the success of their family after losing her mother, Andrea, in March of 2011.
Abbi, a soon-to-be theater major, also works a part-time job, acts in her drama department, keeps her three siblings, Hannah (13), Noah (9) and Sam (also 9) in check when her father’s at work, and still finds time to watch the occasional Rom-Com with her Dad on the couch on a weekend night.