A chilly morning, mid-July 2014, twenty-three teenagers sit before one teacher in a classroom for ‘Pathways’ — a lovely subject that seeks to load up teenagers with the weaponry they will need to traverse the world of careers.
Who and what do we want to be?
How does one figure out who they want to be?
I was put on Earth for a purpose. Unfortunately, I seem to have forgotten what that purpose was along the way. And I’m struggling to grasp the walls of life and drag myself out of a large hole I seem to have dug for myself. That’s abhorrently cliché. But it’s delightful to be abhorrently cliché sometimes.
I have a theory: as small children we know exactly what we are intended to do. We show signs of natural talent, gravitate towards certain hobbies, instruments, sports, cleaning, organising. How we play with our toys, talk to them, form relationships between them, is the path we are to take.
But by the time we grow older we disappear into so many other aspects of life. We become our friends, our parents, our siblings, our teachers. We disintegrate into other people and lose that core self we started with. It is absolutely delightful to tangle your life lessons and philosophical ideas with those around you.
School. Pathways. Decisions about life. I had a cliché fork in the road about which ‘pathway’ (clever name, ‘redacted’ secondary college) to take. Traditional role, become a teacher? A delightful job, entertaining, enthralling, exciting. ‘Moulding the minds of the next generation’, Maths, Science, English. All the learning all the time. Or do I go off the beaten road and find something wickedly creative? Become a writer, an actor, an artist?
I enrolled in primary education at university (I know, but it was the ‘right’ thing to do, I claimed out loud, I can teach and write on the side; of course there would be enough time for that).
It was a lot of fun. It’s insane how quickly you can grow such strong bonds with the groups of children you teach for a short period of time. You learn what their favourite animals are, the way they look at life, who and what they love, (and) you become a small part of their growing lives. I made treasure hunts to teach map reading, puppet shows to read storybooks, math games with prizes to teach multiplication.
My strength is imagination. And yet the wonder from my life started to drain away, enjoyment of the everyday slowly seeping out.
When the fervour for your so-called ‘passions’ start to leak out of you until you are twisted dry of all the zeal of your interests, you escape out the other end afraid of what you once claimed as your favourite things. Fear can control so much; it’s nauseating. That’s when you begin to question whether this path you are beginning to head down is meant for you. It’s a funny thing trying to imagine the rest of your life and realising that you were scared of becoming who you saw at the other end. It was definitely not the person you wanted to be. Quickly, slam the brakes on the car! Turn back!
To halt life for a moment is a scary thing. But sometimes the world needs to stop. It moves way too fast. Days are horrifyingly short. And if time management is not a strong suit of yours, as it is not mine, months can slip away before you get a chance to sit down with that romance book you bought two years ago. It’s such an easy read, and yet, it haunts your every waking moment. You look at it every day and carry it around with you in hopes that your brain will allow you to open it. But it never does. There’s always more important things, or less important, distracting things to do.
I decided, no bullshit.
What do I love? Why separate the best things in life and work?
It’s ridiculous and absurdly silly to stray away from the parts of life you love.
And not the good absurdly silly.
And so I changed. Decided to delve into the world of arts. A creative writer, was the person I wanted to be, a trivial girl in an absurd world writing pretty things. Stringing words into beautiful sentences, what a glorious picture. That is, if fear doesn’t strangle the hope out of me first.
The excitement of wandering into class to sculpting clay all day, craft animations, debate philosophy of love and death, emulate Shakespeare, piece together poems of mundane life, everything became crisp. clear. The wild feeling that that is the sum of your life is enchanting. Writing stories was what made me happy.
Discovering passion is strange, for me it was coming to the conclusion that all the things I enjoyed as a child was what I wanted my future to be. Bright, colourful, pretty things. I may need to etch a spot into this world for myself, for a place that doesn’t exist, yet.
It’s nice learning to love the things you once loved. The first time you decide to read again is such a release, and it may be hard to put down a book again. The fear is all still there, but sometimes it can be pushed aside, because there are much scarier things out there and one day picking up a paintbrush, or pen will be easier.
I hate how cliché of a personal discovery this is, but it’s almost, possibly, slightly beautiful that most of us have this realisation at one point.
As infuriating as it might be that we all go through the same life discoveries, we are all living our wonderful, mundane, silly little lives, together, separately.
And I love it.
Don’t waste your life’s purpose worrying about the unchangeable parts of life.
Thanks for everything, Busybird! <3
Lexie Thodis, Friday intern.