I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with this. Maybe this is just some kind of self-reflection. Maybe someone will be able to identify with or learn from or simply enjoy reading this. I’m sorry this might be a little self-absorbed, but I guess that’s okay, it’s a private column. Maybe I should rename it „Random Musings of a twenty-something“.
So the other day I had a debate inside my head about how everything seems to kinda have fallen into place in my life – I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s far from perfect. I don’t have an awful lot of money, I fight with my boyfriend, I flunk exams and cry in the bathroom at 3 am over the finale of the TV show I am currently watching like everybody else does. I struggle with all the same things most of my peers do. So yeah, in general I lead a pretty normal life with all the usual obstacles everyone in their twenties faces.
But despite all these things, despite the fact that I do have problems – ‚cause, let’s be honest – who doesn’t – I find that recently a lot of things have been handed to me – no, not recently, always.
I was one of those kids who adults called a child prodigy – a term I never would have picked for myself, but apparently I was gifted. I won’t bore you with the details of what and why, but the thing is I was categorized as much more mature than other children my age, I started doing various things much earlier and always, always, much better than my peers and because of that, I never had a quiet, peaceful day in my childhood. Because, you see, when adults think you’re special, and other authority figures confirm that belief, it’s the beginning of a never-ending cycle of doing stuff. I was sent to many different classes, from instruments to sports and everything in between. I got pushed to try everything I showed interest in and while I am aware that’s a privilege, I was also regularly reprimanded for loosing interest or wanting to quit something, always pushed to try harder, longer, better which always, undoubtedly, lead to me wanting to quit even more. And I always got explicably good grades, without having to do anything. When that happens, especially when all those things come together, your parents expect those kind of achievements constantly and forever and sooner or later, you’re bound to disappoint. Disappointing my family was my greatest fear when I was little and that is a big burden to carry for an 8 year old.
But all that soon took it’s toll – I had always gotten A’s, without studying, without working for them. And so I never learned how to to that. Study, I mean. To this day, I can’t prepare for an exam, I just don’t know how. And since I relied on the fact that everything would just work out anyway my whole life, I didn’t even care.
And the worst thing is: it did. Everything still worked out. I’ve graduated with grades better than they should have been and minimal attendance – the combined hours of skipped classes alone should have made graduation impossible. But already back then I knew I could get what I wanted in other ways and it all worked out. No, I didn’t sleep with my teachers. I skipped half of my classes, I got mediocre grades, I didn’t do my homework and I was still considered a „good student“, a „good girl“ – simply by being my usual self – strong-willed, passionate about the things I loved, quick-witted and very, very kind to those who mattered to me.
I engaged in a bazillion extracurricular activities – school newspapers, clubs, organization committees, the office of the head girl. I was always at my best behavior socially – except for one incident me and my friends refer to as „the muffin-thing“ – I got along with all the teachers and got on our principals good foot. I wasn’t passionate about most of the subjects I was taught, but I was very passionate about everything else and even tho it might not be fair – it isn’t – I am awfully aware of the fact, that those were the reasons I graduated at all, never failed a class, never got in trouble. Because when teachers like you, they are willing to get you through, no matter what. Because they’re human.
So when I hit my twenties, I had learned that you could always get what you wanted, even if you didn’t work for it. And it kept on continuing this way, in academics and everything else – an awful lesson. People think that’s something to envy and it kind of is, to an extent. In the end tho, I have to ask myself: Is this a good thing?
No, i don’t have to ask myself that anymore, because I already know the answer: It’s not. It might be comfortable but it is not a good thing to get everything handed to you. Because it’s not very character moulding, at least not in a very positive way.
I mostly like myself, I like that I’m outgoing, and witty, and strong willed and articulate. I like my sense of humor and my taste in fashion. But I am also very aware of my flaws. Flaws that are the result of all this and that I will pretty much carry with me all my life unless something changes.
I am incredibly lazy. I am the laziest person you will ever meet. Since I’ve never really had to work for or on anything, I am not used to doing anything I am not up to. I often think I am entitled to things I am most certainly not entitled to. I can’t cope with things going wrong – if something doesn’t go the way I thought it would, I’m a mess. And the worst thing is: Since I have a deeply ingrained belief, that If something goes wrong it will somehow, magically straighten itself out again without me doing anything, I simply do not do anything about it. I rarely work on myself or my flaws. Actually, I never do. The biggest character development I’ve had in my life, is when I went from a semi-mean-girl-who-thinks-she’s-better-than-most-of-the-people-around-her to a goodhearted, kind-to-everyone kind of girl. So basically I left puberty behind. That’s about it. Isn’t it sad.
Of course I don’t want it to stop – I’m pretty sure no one in their right mind would wish thinks would stop just falling into place for them. What i do want though, is to work on myself nevertheless. I want to build my character, I want to change the bad parts about me, to be my best possible self. I don’t want to turn into a sobbing mess or a crazy bitch, depending on the day, when something doesn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I want to get out of the mindset that I don’t have to work on anything, things will turn out in my favor anyway. I want to do something strenuous even tho I don’t actually have to. I want to be able to say: „I am the best possible version of myself and I worked for it“