Last weekend I was at my parent’s house for two reasons. One was that it was my niece’s birthday and I was giving her presents - a notebook and a Katsuma toy from Moshi Monsters (I have no idea what that is either). The other was that I had to sort through loads of my old stuff from primary and secondary school and throw some things away. It was quite emotionally draining.
The thing that struck me was that it felt like I was going through a dead person’s things, but it was me. It was sad. Like that version of me is done - I can’t be that person again. I can never be in that time of my life again. Like any time, I guess, but there’s something melancholy about throwing away even a maths workbook that I’d never look at, because it represents me aged 8 or 12 or whatever, like I was throwing 8 year old me away. It’s weirdly disconnected because that person is still inside me, really.
Also it was kind of heavy reading 5 years of secondary school work feedback - “could be neater”, “I feel like you’re not applying yourself” etc. and it made me think SCHOOL SUCKS, YO!
I mean, I was smart and I got good grades at GCSE and everything, but goddamn, flicking through all the work I did I remember that feeling of “Why do I have to actually do this? This is boring. I don’t care about this AT ALL.”
And even though you don’t want to do it, and even if you try your hardest, the worth of it is still at the whim of some dude who might not like the colours you chose, or the adjectives you used, or the fact that you didn’t use a ruler for your bar graph about pond life.
So ultimately, the positive I took away from the experience is that being an adult, while it has its downsides and stressful facets, is actually pretty great. If I don’t want to draw a map of a central business district, or write an essay on what it was like to be a pig in Tudor times, I don’t have to.
I can draw a map of Party Land or write an essay on what’s it’s like to be a minotaur from the future with a gun that shoots fireworks, if I want to.
I AM THE HEADMASTER OF MY OWN LIFE!
When I’d finished I had some crumpets with my family, then I went to a punk gig in a pub and the music they played with such vigour had a certain shonkiness to it that made me feel happy. Maybe the chords were a little sloppy, or the notes were a little off, but goddamn it they were playing their own songs, the songs that they wanted to play, and they were enjoying the heck out of it. And that’s the point, really.
I don’t want to write an essay about being a Future Minotaur, but I do want to draw a map of Party Land.
I guess it could be neater, and maybe I didn’t apply myself fully, but I wanted to do it and I did it. What I’m getting at is this: Do what you want to do because you are the Headmaster of your own life.
(Motivational chalkboard seminars and personalised mortarboard merchandise coming soon - will be expensive for you, but I won’t mind because millionaires don’t care about anything.)