Journey | Teen Ink


March 28, 2021
By Nyx SILVER, San Marino, California
Nyx SILVER, San Marino, California
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive."

-- Elbert Hubbard

What is adulthood?

This is the question many of us face (or are determinedly avoiding). However, anyone we ask will always tell us the same thing: it's a life of paying bills, working, making money to survive in society. But what does that really mean? Were our entire lives up to this point, the 12 years we have been in school, fighting for the top scores, just for us to go to school longer? To get a job? For the simple reason that society told us to? What is the point of this day-to-day schedule, endless, be it either school or work, until either break or retirement? Are our lives just going to be waiting for our next paychecks? What is the meaning of going to a good college and getting a good job anyway?

The answer to that is obvious: to make money.

But why? Why do we value money so much?

If you were to continue this train of thought, one question would lead to another answer, and then to another question -- and the cycle continues. So then, should we even ponder these topics?

Maybe not. Let's not be so philosophical, just so we don't fall into a pit of existentialism like a certain Meursault.

What do you want to do? Let's tackle this question first. It may be something you've been set on for a while or something you're scrambling to answer before college. Maybe you're in college and still feeling lost. Maybe it'll come to you someday -- or maybe you can begin researching yourself and make that decision now.

You know all those college career personality tests you took in school, but whatever you got was the complete opposite of what you wanted to do? Or you were asked to pick out what fields you would like to work in? Well, personality tests are proven to be utterly useless and bereft of any scientific support, and that wasn't a comprehensive list of all the opportunities that are out there. What about entertainment? That's something I personally don't recall ever seeing. Don't tell me you never wanted to be a YouTuber at some point in your life, like that Asian guy who's insane at parkourse.

I'm not going to recommend some career choices like a doctor or lawyer. I know: our relatives nag about that whenever they come over for holidays, and just to rub salt in the wound, they ask about our love lives. I will say, however, that you should go with what you want to do. Think about it: your life is made up of school, more school, then work, work, and even more work until retirement comes along. Say you get out of college at 22 or 23. Here, until you hit 65, you won't be eligible for government-subsidized health insurance. For those younger than 65, you work -- health insurance comes as an employee benefit. Nevertheless, regardless of what age people usually retire in your area, it's bound to be a long way off. So choose something you like -- even better, love. But also take into consideration its sustainability. Despite doing something you love, doing it and then suffering for your choice may make you hate what you previously loved. And it's never too early to start. (Bear with me if I sound like your high school counselor.) If you want to go into research, start investigating something you find appealing. If you want to go into jewelry design, start marketing your products on Etsy. If you want to become a comic artist, start uploading on Webtoon, Tapas, Webcomics. Even if you don't want to (because I certainly don't), just know it will make you happier in the future. The beginning of a journey is never pretty. The ending, however, depends on you.

But just as important is enjoying what you currently have. Yes, prepare for the future, but also focus on the now. As a wise kung-fu tortoise once said: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present."

Adults always tell us to enjoy our childhood, that it's much better than being an adult. Of course, at some point in our childhoods, we all wished to grow up quickly so we wouldn't have to go to school; we'd play with our friends all day in the sun (or maybe indoors through a computer screen). Maybe some of you still nurse that wanting to be a grown-up. But I share the same sentiment those adults do -- I don't want to go to college. I don't want to get a job and pay bills and worry about making ends meet.

But we all grow up. Slowly at times, faster at others, but eventually, we all get there. Last year, the end of my high school freshman year came around, without my even noticing. May 31st: as I walked out of campus, it felt surreal, that school was out for the summer. I wouldn't be coming back the next Monday, or the Tuesday after that; in fact, not for the next two months. It felt like any other day.

Time flies by fast, doesn't it?

Don't waste it.

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