Don't Waste Your Youth Growing Up
Saturday, May 1, 2010
So I notice that every time someone talks to me and finds out about my writing, or whenever someone mentions me online, they generally add 'when I was sixteen, I was obsessed with boys and make-up and gossiping with my friends, not writing novels!' or some variation thereof.And I've been thinking about this for a while, and every time someone says it, I think about it again.
I think it's important to note that I am an alien. I am not of this planet. Someday the mothership will return for me, and I'll take the information I've collected about your kind and take it back to my home galaxy, where me and my alien cronies can then plot how we will destroy you. At the moment I'm brainstorming some War of the Worlds old-school style obliteration. Sounds good, right?
No, but in all honesty, I think it's really important to remember that I'm an atypical teenager. I'm very family-oriented, and don't have many close friends. I've been doing high school by distance for the past four years. I hate parties. I refuse to drink, smoke, take drugs or engage in any other risky behaviours. I spend a lot more time with my family or on my own than I spend with people my age. I don't really understand crushes or teenage dating rituals or why everyone wants to get laid so much. I live most of my life in my head.
And I hate all this because it feels a whole lot like I'm not young at all. It feels a whole lot like I've skipped being a teenager and gone straight to being middle-aged. Not that there's anything wrong with being middle-aged, but I worry I won't have an opportunity to be young and do youthful things and wear short skirts (which I won't) and dance (which I don't) and go out with boys (which I mean have you seen sixteen-year-old boys lately? In my town? Yeah, no thanks.). Maturity. It's a curse. I mean I'd like to do these things but I can't. I don't get it. I do want to be like other people. I don't want to miss out. But then again, there are a lot of things I'm doing that other sixteen-year-olds are missing out on (though what you don't have is always a lot more attractive than what you do have. Sure, the grass is greener, but I'd like both patches of grass, thanks). So in terms of the things teenagers think and do and the behaviours they engage in, I'm a million miles behind. But in fifteen years or so, I think we'll be on the same wavelength.
So please, no-one feel bad about having had fun when they were sixteen. Just because I'm spending all my free time with imaginary people doesn't mean I'm any more successful than you. It doesn't matter if you get published as sixteen or sixty. Everything you did through your life (when, you know, you were living life in the real world, not angsting in your room every Friday night and being Steph Bowe) made you the person (and writer) you are today.
But I bet everybody feels like this. I just like thinking that I'm special. I think everybody does.
Have you ever felt like you're wasting your youth?
Labels: thoughts on teenagerdom