Some words from my 18-year-old self
Procrastinating often involves some of the most pointless tasks, and for me today it involved going through all my documents on my computer (because anything is more interesting than trying to write this essay.) I came across a piece I was required to write as part of my application for Falmouth University back in 2012, about the nerves of going to university and the uncertainty of what was ahead of me at the time. I thought I would put it on here as a gentle reminder to myself that I still have the rest of my life ahead of me- even though I still have the same worries and fears 2 years down the line coming to the final year of my degree.
I recently turned 18.
I can now drink alcohol, buy tobacco, change my name, get a tattoo, get married- amongst trivial things like opening an eBay account, or just telling my mum in my defence “I’m an adult now”.
But for some strange reason, I don’t feel as though I’ve been given anything. Now, I am more aware of the necessity, (and ever growing importance) of money, and how everything has its price. What happened to the days where you could be satisfied going to the park or riding your bike around for a few hours? Long gone. Now I want to buy my own clothes, run my own car, have the things that make me feel good about myself. Maybe that’s saying something about the ‘adult’ state of mind. Do we start compensating for the things we tell ourselves we want because we’re no longer satisfied in free happiness?
Maybe I’m being a little cynical here.
For most, 18th birthdays mean drinking copious amounts of alcohol and throwing your guts up down an alley at 3am. And for most that is exactly it. But what comes after? For us eighteen-year-olds it’s time to start making decisions about what we want, what our future is going to look like and where we see ourselves. I think we are too young to make these kinds of decisions so impulsively. Some people are lucky enough to have always had the same ambition, the same career path since they were twelve. But what about the rest of us?
The one thing I have always remembered throughout the past year or so, since starting college, is what a friend of mine told me;
‘Take it easy. Look around; talk to people that have had a good time and where they have been. Just follow your instincts and not what others say. And everything will fall into place. Be spontaneous and do what you want.’
And it’s true. As soon as you stop comparing yourself with others and worrying about where you’re going to end up- concentrate on yourself and the now. I have always loved writing, and right now I know it’s something that could make me happy for a long time. And if it doesn’t? It’s not the end of the world. Choose happiness over what you think you should be doing.