Monday, 20 June 2011

Honestly, I Have No Idea Who This Band Is, but I’ll Pretend to So You’ll Think I’m Cool

     These kinds of people are some of the most annoying in my opinion. I can’t stand it when people aren’t true to themselves in an effort to make others like them, but some cases are worse than others. Maybe a guy pretends to be interested in the same things as the girl he likes in an attempt to get to know her – I wouldn’t condone this method, but it’s understandable. Some people pretend to like the same things as everyone else, as they will be teased and bullied otherwise. Again, I wish they didn’t but I can totally see why they do.  It’s the people who are hypocritical about it that really annoy me – they like obscure things to seem different and outside the mainstream, in attempt to look cool, which just proves that they secretly do care what people think. I also can’t stand those who have no individuality and always follow the crowd, but I’ll save that for another post.

     I’m not saying this is true of everyone who is a bit different or quirky, as some people really do like unusual things and don’t care what others think, and I actually respect these people a lot. It’s the pretenders that I can’t stand. It’s just so frustrating to watch them trying so hard to not fit in, and half the time they end up looking a bit stupid without realising. I feel like they are often trying to rebel or garner attention. I think that’s the root of my frustration at these people – the attention-seeking nature of how they act. To me, it seems like the most logical explanation for pretending to like something, or exaggerating your interest in it, and it really winds me up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against people getting attention – everyone likes to at some point – I just hate it when people go looking for it.

     I think blogs like this are a good example of this. Posting things online rather than keeping them private indicates that you would like someone else to read them, but I don’t like it when people desperately try to get you to read their blog, or follow them. If someone wants to follow a blog because they like it, that’s nice for the author, but that shouldn’t be why they publish it in the first place. I’m writing my thoughts for my own benefit mostly, and decided to post them in case others were interested (though I’m trying to keep my identity secret in case someone I know comes across this), but if they’re not, I don’t really mind. As for my own style, my music taste is mainly rock, which is a bit different from mainstream (I don’t hate chart music, I just don’t choose to buy or listen to it very much). My clothes are relatively normal, but not entirely in fashion. I think I’m on the fringes – not totally different, but not just another clone of the typical teenager. I don’t really like the idea of mainstream, but I wouldn’t dislike someone just because they did – unless they only liked something because everyone else did (as I mentioned above). It’s personal choice – everyone likes different things, and people should be true to who they are. I’m not going to say that I don’t care what people think of me at all (otherwise I wouldn’t be keeping this anonymous), because I think everyone does to a certain degree, but by and large, my interests and style are my own choice. Ok, I do have some guilty pleasures, and I don’t mention them very much to anyone, but I don’t go out of my way to deny them, as that would mean I was being someone I’m not.

     So, I suppose to sum up, I don’t like it when people pretend to like something they don’t for whatever reason – trying to fit in or trying not to – and I don’t like attention-seekers. I’m out with the mainstream crowd myself, but don’t advertise this blatantly to get attention, or try to deny it either in an attempt to fit in. I think being true to yourself is an important lesson in everyone’s lives, which some people will learn sooner than others (I’m still waiting for it to sink in for my sister). Yes, it irritates me when people aren’t, but I’m not going to lose sleep over it. I’m happy with who I am, which, I think, is the most important thing at my age.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Thrown Off the Safe, Familiar Pier and Out into the Vast Ocean of the Unknown

     For the last 13 years I’ve known exactly what I’m doing nearly every day. Get up, go to school, come home, do homework, chill out, go to bed. Even the days without school were relatively predictable – a mix of more homework and more messing out. And if we go back even further, to before school, well, life back then couldn’t be simpler. Little kids have it easy, playing all day and letting someone else look after them and do all the worrying. I’m sure everyone has wished they could go back to being a child at one point or another. Childhood was routine, yes at times boring, but safe and (discounting the hell of exams and coursework) easy.  There were some decisions in regards to the future, such as choice of subjects to sit exams in, but by and large, you knew what to expect each day. Then, all of a sudden the safety net is gone. You’ve been pushed off the pier into the wide ocean with no clue what you’re doing next. Yes, there comes a point in everyone’s life where your future is up to you. Well, hopefully. No doubt everyone will be weighing in with their opinions on what you should do – parents, teachers, friends, every other relative and the ones you never knew you had. But, the normal course that everyone follows – primary school, high school – is gone. Everyone branches off to do their own thing. It’s thrilling and liberating, but also absolutely terrifying. I don’t think anyone is fully prepared for leaving school until it actually happens.
     Having left school about a month ago (though I still had to go in for exams) I’ve got a whole boiling pot of emotions brewing away. There’s happiness at leaving the place that could be hell on earth at times and excitement about the future (I’m moving to a big city for the first time), but also sadness, as you know there will be people you may never see again and fear about the future (like I said, I’m moving to a big city for the first time!). No one can prepare you for this, so it really is a complete leap into the unknown. Some people will be more confident than others – not everyone will be leaving home, some have the next 5-10 years planned already. But for those who don’t fit into these categories, there is definitely something to be scared of.
    I can’t speak for those going straight into work or living at home while attending college, as I’m writing this based of my own feelings about leaving to go to university. The unknown is definitely the scariest part of growing up, in my opinion. Although my future has some degree of structure to it currently – I know what I’m doing for the next four years at least – nothing is cast in iron, and it certainly hasn’t always been that way. Sometimes I’ve felt jealous of the people who know, and have known for a long time, exactly how they want their life to pan out. I certainly could have done without the stress deciding on a future caused me. I knew I wanted to go to university, but I didn’t pick a course until about a month before the application was sent off, and didn’t finalise where I was going (I was accepted by a few places) until as late as I could possibly leave it. Part of the reason I put off the decision for so long was that I was scared I would regret it later, and I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling so uncertain about the future. In ten years I may still regret it, but for now, it feels right. But, by leaving my options open and taking my time deciding, it has made me somewhat more certain of my decision. I often wonder if those people who have a set career path from early on in life are more likely to have regrets later on. One of my hopes is that throughout my life I won’t have regrets. I want to make the most of life and enjoy it.
    And yet, despite the fact that my next four years are planned, for some people that isn’t enough. Both I and my parents, when telling someone what I’m studying at university, have then been asked frequently “With a view to?” I haven’t got a clue! It took me long enough to decide what I was doing and where I was going to uni, never mind afterwards. I don’t think it’s necessary to know what I’m going to do for the rest of my life now. I’m only seventeen, so I want to enjoy my youth while I can and not worry about years in advance. Having any degree opens up all sorts of career opportunities, so for now, my plan is just to wait and see where life takes me. Part of the reason I chose a generalised course was to keep future job options open, unlike courses such as medicine, which really only leads into being a doctor.  Although my uncertainty about the future scares me, I want the freedom to choose and change my mind, like I always have done. And in this modern age, a job isn’t for life like it used to be. People do complete u-turns in their careers all the time, so if I do find myself doing something I hate, I’ll find something else to do instead. Planning ahead is fine, and I know I’d be a wreck if I didn’t know what I was doing in the immediate future, but I think there comes a point when you just have to wait and see what happens. Even if you think you have a ten year plan, it may not happen just as you expect.
    While the unknown of my future is definitely something that scares the crap out of me, some of the known parts do to – mostly, the fact that I’ll be living away from home for the first time. This doesn’t worry me quite as much as the unknown stuff, because I’ll only be a couple of hours from home and I can’t wait for the independence. No one asking what you’ve been doing, complaining about you sleeping in or the state of your room, having the freedom to come home when you want, go where you want, buy what you want (within a budget unfortunately)… Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I know I’m going to miss them, but after almost four months of being home with my parents every day, and 6 weeks of my brother and sister when they’re on summer holidays,  I think I’ll be ready to get away from them for a while. But there is still something a little scary about no one looking after you. Having to cook, clean, learn to budget and just be wholly responsible for yourself is quite a daunting prospect, and I’m sure that I’ll welcome a weekend at home from time to time. Again, this is purely from my own observations, but I think leaving home and school within a few months of each other has got to be more terrifying than leaving school but staying at home. There’s still a part of the safety net left.
     Leaving friends behind is less scary and more sad, because although people try to stay and touch, and many succeed, there will always be those who you perhaps weren’t all that close to at school, but suddenly miss more when they’re gone and you do lose touch. And yes, there are arguments that in this day and age, phones and the Internet make keeping in touch far easier, but I don’t think they can replace real life interactions (but I won’t dwell on this as it’s just struck me as a potential idea for another post). There is also the aspect of losing friends that makes me nervous, in that when I go to university I’ll know very few people there and have to make a bunch of new friends, and I’ve always been quite a shy person (though my confidence has definitely grown in recent years).
     Now, I know that most of this post has been about the fear of the future, in particular the unknown, but I am definitely very excited about it too. It’s a new chapter in the story of my life, one with freedom and adventure, new experiences to try, and for some, a chance to start over. I’ve been relatively lucky with my high school experience, but one of my bigger regrets is that my shyness limited my number of close friends and my social opportunities, i.e. I’m hoping to go to a hell of a lot more parties when I get to university! From what I’ve heard, uni is more than just a place of learning about your course (though that is important) – it’s about learning who you are, and enjoying your youth. It’s a step closer to the real world than school, but still isn’t quite there yet. My future isn’t mapped out and I’m terrified about next year – but I’ll muddle through, and hopefully have fun doing so!
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