Please don’t, above all,
plant me in your heart.
I grow too quick.
stop me if i’ve told this story.
when i was in my final year of high school, i was wholly grateful that i knew what i wanted to study at uni. [i want to say that i had always been resolute in pursuing a career in journalism, but i can remember going to a university open day in year 11 and saying that i was going to do education/psychology (not even a dual, you rookie!), so i’m not sure when i firmed up the old journalism/arts combination. anyway, the choice evidently didn’t cause too much angst because i can’t precisely remember making it.] but i was good at english, i liked talking to people, i was often told off for asking too many questions - a match made in heaven, it seemed.
and it was, kind of. i cherry-picked bits from the degrees that i liked, completely ignored others (hello, zero aspirations to do anything related to television) and that was that. so it came as a complete shock when i wrapped up five and a half years of study (i’d thrown a masters in for good measure) and felt the same kind of despair so many of my friends had experienced when they finished year 12 with no clue of what they wanted to do next.
asking a 17-year-old what they want to be when they grow up still seems a bit cruel to me, especially because even now in my mid-20s i’m still not there. but whenever i meet a senior in high school now, i always give them the same advice they never asked for: it doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think. i finished my degree, i’m still not in my “forever” role (does such a thing even exist anymore?) but i can feel that i’m on a path. somewhere. the direction is right. it’s both thrilling and nauseating.
I always tell people who are deciding what to do- especially those I’ve met traveling or on a gap year that I wish I’d done exactly that. Taken a year off to be seventeen and not wasted time, money and emotions on a degree I just kind of picked because it sounded somewhat suited to my skills. I failed subjects and made myself miserable doing what I thought was expected and I’m spending my time now trying to find what I couldn’t look for back then. I’m happy that I have a degree now, and I’ve worked in an amazing job as a result, but I can shake that feeling of wasted time when I think about my first year of uni.
Leo briefly forgetting how to ride a bike
I’ve just purchased a bike as I’ve been dreaming of coasting around in my first Canadian summer with flowers in my hair and long hippy skirts. In reality, it’s a lot of gasping for breath as I pedal up tiny hills, cursing myself for not going to any of those yoga classes I was supposed to this winter and wondering if I’ve ever been this unfit.
We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.
Because I’m no longer measuring my happiness against theirs, or judging their choices; I’m finally at peace with mine.
I’ve learnt that life is based around experiences you’ve touched with your own two hands and on human connections, especially the people that challenge you.
Kathleen. In Transit.
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.