Monday, March 9, 2015

Advice to my high school self

I was awesome

Today a friend (high school teacher) sent out a group message in which I was included: "Good afternoon wise ladies. I want to do some work with my year 11s. If you could give a girl one piece of advice that you would have loved to have received when you were 16, what would it have been?"

I sifted through ideas... thoughts on boys growing into men, on treasuring your families, on not taking friendships for granted, on forming good habits with your health now rather than in 10 years when you've had a chance to do some damage, heck, even on peer pressure. But then I wondered, seriously, what pearl of wisdom would I have truly benefited from? I thought back to my childhood, in which every need and want was met by my loving parents, in which I was privileged to attend an elite school, and whatever struck my fancy at any given time seemed achievable, easily. It seemed that I barely had to lift a finger, and I got what I wanted. The simple act of wanting seemed to achieved its own end result.
Granted, the things I wanted back then were generally easier to achieve than the things I want now, but I'm sorry to say that the principle stuck with me, and I think a lot of adults find themselves in the same position. We want for a new career, a more beautiful body, a nicer house, a new skill that has always interested us. But do we find ourselves working to achieve it? Do we think logically, plan the steps that it will take to get there, and make our move? Some do. Regrettably, I don't.
So the advice I think I will respond to my friend with, the advice I would love to go back and give to myself in high school, is this: "Nothing worth having will fall into your lap. If you want something, you need to work for it. Set your mind on it and make it happen, because unless you do, it won't. People who influence you and even help you may come and go, but the only one who is truly responsible for building your life is you." I figure there is just no such thing as a whimsical life in which you spend every day getting exactly what you want - unless what you want are very simple, basic things. And I guess if that's satisfying for you, then that's fine.

Occasionally I harp on about the fact that more than anything, I want to write. The amount of times I have voiced this desire though is just the tip of a monster iceberg. I think about it every day. Every day, stuck in traffic on the way to my job (which I love, by the way) I think "I wish I were a writer". I imagine stories, Google freelance writing jobs, read books while thinking about penning my own, dream of getting back into this blog, but it's always "as soon as life slows down/I have more time/I feel like committing to it/etc". Has that worked for me over the years? Amazingly, no, it hasn't! I am no closer to my writing dreams today than I was years ago when they first began popping into my head.

I'm not going to end this post with a decisive "So today I commit to writing something every day!" or anything like that. But I would like to think that following this little epiphany, I might shift my mind-set and start becoming more practical in the way that I look at my hopes for my life. I don't want to reach the end of my life and regret not pursuing something that I believed was so important to me. Maybe this will resonate with you, too? I'll leave you with that thought.