The dreaded question: the epitome of teenage angst

When I go back to high school in a week, I’m going to be in grade 12. I’m honestly still trying to figure out how the heck that happened… I still remember the first day of grade 8 like it was yesterday. I’m growing up and admittedly, it’s scary as fuck. In a few months I’ll be applying to universities and before I know it, I’m going to be graduating and off to start the next chapter of my life.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked about my post-secondary plans, I’d be richer than Kim Kardashian. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration but seriously, I’ve been asked too many times to count and I know I’m not the only student that’s going through this. For a while, I could answer the question because I had a plan: go to university to study gender studies and then proceed to become Emma Watson. Okay scratch that last part since it would never happen, but the first part of my plan was fairly solid. That plan was the first and only time that I knew what I really wanted to do with my life.

But the thing is, people change, life happens and plans dissolve. I still aspire to be a social justice-seeking superstar, but I don’t have the same plan anymore. Actually, I don’t have any plan. And as much as not having a plan is liberating, it’s also the main source of my stress these days. We don’t live in a world where not having a plan is celebrated; we live in a world that’s constantly preparing for tomorrow. Our lives are built around getting ready for the next stage in life: I went to preschool to prepare for elementary school, I went to elementary school to prepare me for high school (though in reality, it hardly prepared me at all), and at the end of next year I’ll supposedly be ready for university, but I can’t even imagine how big of a leap it’s actually going to be.

I’m just so exhausted, y’all. I’m tired of answering the same question about what my plans are after high school over and over again. I’m sick of feeling like I’m expected to have everything figured out. See, my problem is not with the question. Humans are curious people and they only ask the dreaded question out of pure interest. But I don’t think people realize how many times I’ve been asked the same exact question. I don’t think they realize that I’m already freaking out about my future without having anyone ask about it.

I realize that these people will not go away and that I will probably be asked the same question many more times in my life, so I need to turn this into something more positive before I go absolutely bonkers. Something I’ve really appreciated from a lot of people who’ve asked me about my future plans is their personal advice. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to say, “I have no idea what I’m doing with my life” and to hear someone say, “I know exactly how you feel” is honestly the most comforting feeling.

From what I’ve gathered, it sounds like I’m going to be spending the rest of my life trying to figure things out. I can’t live my life if I’m always waiting for the next thing to happen so I don’t want to waste any more of my time worrying about what’s coming up. I know the upcoming year is going to be absolutely insane, but that’s okay. I just have to take it one day at a time. See the thing is, nothing ever happens as I think it will anyways. Plans never work out perfectly, but that’s what makes life more interesting. There is beauty in the unexpected. When I was in San Francisco this summer, one of the older dancers said something to me that really stuck: It’s okay to not know and to change my mind a million times, because no matter what, I will do something and I will end up somewhere. I am unbelievably lucky to be in a situation where that’s true.

The details of my future are unknown but that is completely alright. And I hope that one day I can look back on this and say, “See? You turned out okay, hun.” I hope that I make mistakes, and lots of them. I hope that I take risks and do things that scare me (because yo to the lo, amiright?) I hope that I don’t take the easy route. But most of all, I just hope that I savor every beautiful moment that life has to offer. Life is a roller coaster and I want to fucking ride it with my hands up in the air and a huge smile on my face.



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