Don’t Wait Until College to Start Living Your Life
Here’s the thing: your life is right now. It’s not on Friday when the weekend finally starts or the minute you step foot on a college campus. Your life is not only the extravagant travel experiences or dropping some big bucks at Nordstrom Rack. LIFE IS NOT JUST THE HIGHLIGHT REEL. Life is right now.
I used to think that college was the start of life for me. But college is just when my independent, dorm room, half-in-the-real-world-half-not life starts for me.
Life is right now. Life is the agony of waking up at 6:30 to go take some math classes I’ll never use again and accepting the fact that I never got asked to homecoming. But between what seems like the excruciating suck that is being a teenager, there are a thousand and one decisions and actions that you CAN take to make your life go just a little more your way.
No, you’re not in control. No one is. But you can be in control of some seemingly small yet totally gigantic aspects of your never-ending "I live under my parents' roof and I want to get the fuck out of here" life.
In the past four years, I have struggled and I have lost, but in the end, I managed to realize what I really want my life to be right now. The key is to be realistic- you do live under your parents' roof and you do have to go to school. But you’ve got just a tiny bit of control.
Like most kids, I was invested in sports going into high school. I swam for hours a day, had no social life, and surrounded myself with an environment that never made me feel like I was enough. The only reason I stayed was that of my teammates and the endorphin high of a good swim set. But I am not very competitive and I hated the meets. That likely made me the odd one out, because all I really wanted was the workout.
So after sophomore year I quit. That sounds so simple, so easy- yet it’s not. For high schooler’s, deciding to end a lifelong sport, instrument, or club seems like the end of the world. It’s your identity- how can you have friends without it? What will you do?
All I knew was that I wanted more. I wanted a little job at my favorite vintage and antique store, I wanted to start practicing yoga, I wanted time to cook my own food, I wanted to focus on preparing for interior design school and I wanted to meet new people.
It didn’t all just magically align the second I quit swimming. It’s been almost two years and I can happily say that list is checked off. But I worked for it. Really, really worked for it.
I reached out to the store multiple times to set up a job interview, had no idea what the hell a down dog was, and have a scar on my arm from the first time I pan-fried salmon. But when I fell over in my yoga class, I just got right back up.
A lot of what I wanted to do for myself was not what those around me were doing. I took it on solo. It’s easy to know what you want, but it takes strength and perseverance to go after it.
You could die tomorrow. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You could lose the most elemental and primal person in your life by the age of 16 as I did. At that point you have two choices: you either live a life built for the two of you or you let it kill you too.
I could die tomorrow. So I’m going to focus on the now.
THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO GO AFTER THE LIFE YOU WANT:
Talk to the person you like. I’m not kidding just do it. Whatever is running through your head is BS. The absolute worst thing that happens is they say no when you ask them to hang out. I’ve been there. It’s really not that bad if you have decent taste they will be nice about it. LIFE WILL GO ON. And if you’re lucky, I mean look at you, you’ve got a date.
Quit. Whatever it is, if it’s not making you happy anymore just quit. Quit babysitting that family after school. Quit running cross country when you really hate running- there are other forms of exercise. Quit auditioning for the musical if it’s not what you want to be doing, even if you do have the best voice out there.
Try something you’ve always wanted to try, especially if it scares you. I knew nothing about yoga except for it’s mental and physical benefits. For months I messed up and stared at the teacher for every pose. But you get better. Everyone starts somewhere.
Reach out to new people. Making friends in high school SUCCCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. It took me a very, very long time to find my people when I thought I’d never find them at all. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to become friends with people who are different from you. Sit with new people at lunch, if it doesn’t fit, don’t sit with them again. Just keep trying and I promise one day you will find them.
All the love,