I never thought I would say this, but I have come to a point when I started to realize how easy and laid back life was back in high school. This is a strange feeling, for this only shows me how much I have actually changed. Undoubtedly, this scares me because you only realize who you’ve become when you take a second and look back. Then, this feeling kicks in and for a split second you feel as if you are two people at once – the old and the new you.
My parents and relatives kept telling me that school is “the most carefree time of your life” and I wanted them to stop saying that so badly because clearly, there is much drama when you’re a teen and things are definitely not as “carefree” as those adults said. You know, your first boy- or girlfriend, your first heartbreak, arguments with your parents about coming back home way too late, damned homework and much more. Honestly, this is tough stuff, isn’t it?
I decided to answer with a big fat “No,” after I had moved out for the first time to start college. High school was all peanuts compared to the “real life” as I thought I was living it now. I had to look after myself, make sandwiches for lunch, cook dinner, go to the doctors when I was sick (I really missed my mom who would bring me tea and food and give me a big hug), clean my apartment and do my laundry. There was just so much more responsibility but never ever did I miss high school. This might be because I was having much more freedom, could go out and stay up as late as I wanted to, meet people whenever I decided to do so and immerse myself in the state of in-between a just-turned-20 girl and a “real” grown-up. Surely, there was drama, as well, but it was different, though emotional many times. However, you could stay out of it if you wanted or at least things were sorted out in a more “rational” way. I had my opinions about things, my values – a mature personality, so to speak. I thought I knew everything about life now and would be able to cope with whatever would make it difficult from time to time.
All of a sudden, three years had passed and a new chapter of my life began. As I had decided to do a master’s, I moved to London, the big smoke. From a small town to the big metropolis – this had already been a life-changing experience. I’ve always had this feeling of wanderlust deep inside me and now I had he the opportunity to live abroad for the second time in my life. Also, life as a postgraduate is by far not as crazy as that of on an undergrad – at least this is my experience. You calm down a bit, appreciate the precious moments together with newly met people. You exchange stories about your past years and start talking about your dreams. You realize that you’re a different person compared to who you’ve been during your undergraduate studies and that you have eventually changed your perspective on things.
I thought I was living the “real life” three years ago but oh, this was a sweet, carefree life in retrospective. I have to manage life in a city with almost 8 million people and constantly have to make sure I am not broke in the middle of the month as life in London is just so expensive. I cannot simply go back home when there’s a problem, which I have to manage myself. I have greater responsibility as no one tells you how and when to do something – but the deadline is set. And all so often I just have to inhale deeply as stress is something that has become part of my life. Real stress. I can only call myself a student for roughly three more months. I am beginning to stress out about my future, about being – or having to be – an adult.
And here we are. I am facing a whole lot of changes and see more responsibilities fast approaching. And with changes come choices. With choices come decisions and the latter is what I am facing right now. Regarding my future plans, life requires me to decide. I find myself standing at a crossroad. I don’t want to be an adult.
I don’t want to make such important decisions. But I know I have to, for there is no other way around. Nevertheless, what do you do if you know that, on the one hand, you have this desire to go see and explore the world, find an employment abroad, yet, on the other hand, you know that this decision is having massive consequences in that you will hurt a person you care about? What if your restlessness is so strong that you simply know staying is not an option, for you want to live your life with no regrets? However, you are aware of the fact leaving will be a hell of an emotional roller-coaster ride, which might actually lead to regrets? These are your choices. This is your life. This is my life and no matter what chapter it was, I always wanted to have more freedom of decision-making.
Now that I am facing one of the hardest decisions no one can help me with I just wish someone would decide for me. It’s wishful thinking. Welcome to maturity, where every hard decision will have consequences you cannot foresee – or maybe you can but this makes things even more difficult. I have to decide in a grown-up manne, in a rational way.
I am completely self-determined now and have realized that I actually know very little about real life.
And this is when I think about how easy it was back in high school.