Dear High schoolers
I know exactly what you’re thinking and I know that you think that what you are thinking is completely right and that you know everything that you need to know, but the truth is: it’s not and you don’t. To put it simply.
For four years of your life, high school is the place where nightmares are born. It’s a cold, evil castle with too many stairs and hormones floating in the air like the common cold. Friends stab you in the back and teachers show their dislike for you by piling up the homework. There’s not enough time for everything you want to do over the weekends and too many hours spent wasted in a classroom with people that you don’t ever want to see again. You wish the time by, hoping that you would wake up a grown-up that never has to go to school again and that doesn’t have to get up in the icy cold and put on a uniform that doesn’t keep you warm, no matter how many layers you put on. Can’t wear make-up, but you get teased for having a spot on your forehead that makes you look like a recording camera. Can’t have bangs in your eyes, but your fringe is too short to stay tied back. You carry a backpack that weighs about as much as a new-born hippo and yet you still manage to be slightly chubby. It’s a cruel and heartless place that only the strongest survive without extreme emotional scarring.
And yet, here we all are – the adults wishing we could go back to school. Why? Because that was easier than this.
I spent my entire school career believing that as soon as I finished my grade 12, I would never have to get up before the crack of dawn ever again. How I never took into account that I would have to go to work at an ungodly hour anyway, I have no idea. I thought I would get to wear whatever I wanted, dye my hair fire engine red, have all the piercings my heart desired and get a bad-ass tattoo on my rib-cage. Instead I stand in my underwear every morning, trying to figure out what I’m going to wear to simultaneously keep me dry, warm and looking like someone who might actually have a bright future in the corporate work. The piercings had to be removed and forgotten the day I had my first interview and my hair stays a respectable shade of brown. As for that tattoo – I can’t imagine what it would look like after carrying the babies I hope to have one day. The weekends I thought I’d spend day-drinking with friends, I spend cleaning and sorting laundry instead. I watch movies with my boyfriends on the nights I thought I’d be dancing in clubs and I cook for my family on the evenings I thought I would be having sushi dates with the girls.
I was convinced that I’d have all the free time in the world when I could legally decide what to do with my do, and yet I have to be at work the entire day, every day. I go to bed at 9 because I’m exhausted and don’t watch horror movies because I’m terrified of the dark. I’ve had meaningful conversations with the people I couldn’t stand three years ago and have very little respect left for some of the people I used to look up to. I long for conversations with the teachers that always picked on me, because I now know that they saw potential in me, even when I didn’t know it was there myself. I yearn for projects that can be finished the night before the due date when I sit behind a desk covered in files that take weeks to sort through.
Point is, things change. Your perception changes and you as a person will change so much that you wouldn’t recognize yourself. The things and people you loved will lose it’s flavor or disappoint you, the people you dislike may become your best friends and you may never be able to go to the bathroom at night without switching all the lights on. You will learn to admire the ones that pushed you and encouraged you way past your comfort zone. You will change your goals and your ambitions, you will do the things you’ve always wanted to do and realize that you don’t actually like doing it. You will spent hours doing the things that you thought to be too boring for words and end up falling in love with the simplicity. You will accidentally bite down on some veggies and actually find yourself enjoying it and you will learn that you don’t actually like the feeling of waking up with a headache weekend after weekend.
This is the one thing you can count on that never changes – and that is that everything is always changing. Enjoy the now, before it’s gone beyond reach. You might look back and find that these were the best years of your life. I know it seems hard. Gosh, it can be downright horrible. But it can also be the most careless fun you will ever have. Go home, do your homework and hug the person ironing your clothes and buying the bills. There’s not a lot of time left and it’s about to get a whole lot harder.
Enjoy every moment of it.