My room isn’t always neat and I sometimes forget to wash my face before bed. I stay up way later than I should and my laundry occasionally comes out pink because I forgot to put the washing machine on “cold”. I’ll run out of the house without making my bed, and I’ve definitely devoted an unhealthy amount of dinners to Mac & Cheese. I procrastinate doing my work at times and often say I’m going to the gym but end up watching Netflix instead. These instances are what some might call “being lazy” or “irresponsible”.
See, at 19 years old society expects a lot from us. We’re expected to know what job we want, what we do and don’t enjoy, and where we want to end up. To put it simply, we’re expected to have our shit together. We’ve been on this earth for what hasn’t even been two decades and society expects us to know exactly who we are; exactly the path we want to follow and the reasons why we want to follow that path.
Well, I’m calling bullshit on the whole thing.
Yes, while I agree that it’s important to have an idea of what we want to do with our lives, it doesn’t all have to be planned out to the least detail. In fact, that’s just about impossible. Something will always alter our plans, even when we think we’ve thought of every possible outcome. The reason why though, that we can’t have it all sorted out at such a young age, in particular, is because we don’t know what we want yet, and it’s only now that we get to form our own opinions and our own outlooks on life.
It’s only now that we get to explore and figure out what kind of person we want to be. It’s only now that we get the freedom to choose what we want to do with almost no responsibilities. It’s only now that we get to figure out who we are, even though we’re expected to already know.
Something I constantly ask myself and my friends when making decisions is a question that has come to be one of the most important ones I’ve learned to ask myself throughout college:
“When will I ever get to do this again?”
The answer is usually never. After these four years, that’s it. No more staying up until sunrise or eating tons of junk food without getting sick. No more going out on Thursday nights and getting 4 hours of sleep before class the next day. No more sleeping in on weekdays, no more 2am gyros, no more roommates, no more tailgates, no more frats…..no more carefree lifestyle. This is our time and it is imperative that we make the most of it.
So who cares what society says?
Right now the only thing that matters is what YOU say. Anything that anyone else has to say probably won’t matter in the long run anyways. So next time you have to make a decision or you feel bad about yourself, just remind yourself that it’s okay.
It’s okay that some nights you’ll stay up until 3 am eating Cheetos and having deep conversations with your roommates. It’s okay if you miss a couple days of running on the treadmill or lifting weights. It’s okay that you ate chicken fingers and French fries for dinner the past three nights. It’s okay that your exhausted and hungover after a long night out.
It’s okay because we don’t know have to know who we are.
We don’t have to know who we want to be. All we have to do is enjoy figuring it out.