Since I was young, everyone has always told me that I act older than my age. I’m just very mature, I suppose. I was the girl reading books for grades higher in grade two, being the friend to the girl everyone shunned in grade five, learning HTML out of curiosity in grade seven, and giving advice to my friends about drama all throughout high school. My reputation is (or maybe I should say was, considering some recent events) flawless. So, naturally, people trust me very easily and expect me to get things done.
It was in March of last year when I went on my graduation trip to Punta Cana with a small group of my friends (the rest of the grade went during the summer) that I realized that I was different than most of my peers. I had not been in a fight with a friend since grade four, never been involved in any drama or had rumours spread about me, liked to party but didn’t mind sitting at home reading, wasn’t interested in having a boyfriend because the boys I knew were simply not good enough (to put it bluntly)… Meanwhile my friends were around me having fights with their boyfriends and girlfriends, guzzling alcohol from sun rise and back, having sex with strangers, and experiencing their own little “flings”. Now I definitely enjoyed that trip and didn’t hold myself back. I certainly drank every night, more than I would if I was at home. I had my first kiss. And my second. And third. But I found myself more interested in actually experiencing the trip by going on a trip on a catamaran, taking a jeep tour, and learning how to surf. Why would I want to sleep with a stranger just to “get the whole virginity thing over with before college”? Why would I want to wake up every morning hungover? What’s so great about tanning and why am I expected to want to sit in the sun for X amount of hours (risking heat stroke!)? However, this post isn’t about my trip so I’ll move right along…
I’ve always been the responsible one. Though I would say that I am by nature impulsive, I usually avoided doing anything “out-of-the-box” in fear of ruining my reputation, running into any drama, or having any regrets. But after coming back from that trip I had an epiphany: I was not having any fun the way I was living. I was surprised at the regret I felt from not doing anything crazy and not making mistakes!
Most weekends I was at home. I was not happy with a majority of my friends who I felt I had next to nothing in common with. Guys were non-existent in my life (if you didn’t guess that, seeing as my first kiss was at 18). Now these aren’t necessarily things that had to be fixed, and I certainly found happiness at one point with these things as they were, but they were the root of my discontentment.
At the time I wasn’t in a position to change it up. I was taking a class that organizes a huge conference every year and I was in charge of getting the guest speakers. It was a stressful job and a social life wouldn’t have been possible if I wanted to do the very best job I could. So I held off…
I really hate to say it because it’s become so lame/obvious, but you really do only live once. I despise people who use this acronym in a serious fashion day-to-day, but it is a valid reason to say, “Fuck it!” and live.
So this past year I’ve started hanging out with new friends. At one point I did go through a little bit of a depression (and am still working against it), but I found that improving my life not necessarily through productivity but through keeping busy and trying to make my life interesting has helped. But I’m staying grounded, avoiding that drama that I’ve never truly experienced. At the same time I’m allowing myself to be a little irresponsible sometimes, to do things just because I want to. Or to avoid things just because I want to. (Like quitting my job–I wrote a letter and had my mom drop it in the mailbox because I didn’t want to deal with confrontation–not my most responsible choice, but the best for me at the time as the stress I felt even thinking about it was insane.)
Maybe this isn’t the way to spend the rest of my life, but I’m definitely in a better place than I was last year at this time, in terms of having fun being myself. And I know life isn’t all parties and lack of consequences, but those are things I never experienced going through high school.
It’s time I acknowledged that I’m still young. I’m allowed to be a little irresponsible sometimes. I should do things just because I have a sudden impulse. In the end, I’ll be happier.
So fuck it. YOLO. Or carpe diem. Or “live every day like it’s your last”. Or some other cliché.