Revisiting My MySpace Blogs – “I Admit: I Don’t Know” (Posted 2006)

So, like I mentioned briefly last night, I finally got ahold of all my old MySpace blogs.  Some of the stuff I posted is highly embarrassing and I wish someone would have given me a swift kick in the pants for writing it, but other stuff is actually really  nice to look back on.  The one I’m going to share today both resonated and amused me when I read it.  I’ve cut out the irrelevant first half (it was a really long blog!) and just left in the bit that I wanted to address.  This was written towards of year 10, back when I’d only recently turned 16 and was heading into my big final two years of school the following year.  (I decided to leave all the terrible grammar and spelling in to keep in authentic…apparently capital letters weren’t cool back then).

I Admit: I Don’t Know (Posted : 2006-08-02)

the time had to come of coarse. there was no denying that. it’s the time where we have to choose subjects for our final two years of school, and with that, a career path. and i hate it. i was never the kid to think “i’m gonna be a firefighter” or whatever. well, not for more then a few days anyway. and although the thought had crossed my mind once or twice, i never really thought about it, just chucked it on the too hard pile for another day. and now the time has come where there really isn’t any time left for thinking…well, there IS of coarse, but you had to at least have a loose idea. and i sort of do. but i just can’t see myself staying with one job. and that isn’t a good thing. if you jump careers all the time, it’s not going to be a steady income. and i’m not a moron. i know how important that is. damn, just covering the cost of petrol is more then enough reason to just decide on a proffesion and stick with it. and i’ve narrowed it down to two fields – music or computers. i know, big shock huh? lol. not really. music, well, i’d LOVE to be in a band, but i can’t sing, and am only just moving into a sort-of-okay guitarist. i’m not brilliant, but i definately have stepped up quite a bit since i started. gimme two years i think, and then maybe i’ll be ready. but nah, even if i was in a band, that’d be gigging at nights, and it wouldn’t be an income. i know that. so i was thinking maybe a sound technician. or if it was computers, it would either be something to do with the internet like a webmaster/designer, or like a computer programmer. had a “taster” at the local nmit tafe two days ago, and it was on the visual design coarses. that isn’t for me. i know that. but there was a Q-and-A after lunch, and one of the students they got to talk was studying music, and they’ve just brought in a diploma in it, and the guy talking was in the band we saw afterwards. and it made me want to do that, but at the same time think that i’d complete it and then go “nah, i’m over this” and do computers. ohhh i’m so confused. that’s another reason why i was probably crabby. i don’t know. and that’s the extent of it, of all of this i suppose, I DON’T KNOW. i’m only sixteen! twenty-year-olds don’t know what they want half the time. i can’t vote. i can’t drive without someone next to me. i can’t smoke (not that i would). i can’t drink. so why in the hell am i am even thinking about a career path? i’m not saying that i should be treated like a four year old, coz i’m not. i want to be part of the adult world. but at the same time, you can’t expect us to know when we’re sixteen. not properly. well, not me anyway. i just know that i’ll choose something now and in six months time go “what was i thinking?”. and by then it’s too late. urgh i just want someone to tell me what i want. it’s draining and stressful and confusing. but i’m not complaining. well, no more then anyone else.

I really liked this post in particular as I still completely agree with what I wrote, which is unusual considering I’m now well and truely on the other side of the fence.  A majority of the stuff I wrote/complained/whined about back then I now understand better and therefore, don’t really agree with any more, but this post is still so true!

I can’t believe schools expect kids to know what they want to do at such a young age.  As I addressed in the post, kids that age have no legal rights whatsoever, and yet they’re expected to know what they want to do as a career for potentially their whole life?  I mean, I understand that choosing the wrong subjects isn’t the end of a particular career path should you decide later on, but between the ages of 18-21, further education places do check what subjects were taken and the results, and if something wasn’t taken you’d have to jump through some big (often time consuming) hoops.  That’s a lot of pressure to put onto people that young!  Especially when on top of that, the teachers are all crying “Year 11 and 12 are the hardest years of your lives, you have to study, you have to get good grades, you need a good final score or you won’t get into further education and you won’t have a good job!”.  Essentially, if you don’t do well, you’re life is over.  Looking at it from the other side, it’s 100% a dirty, dirty lie.  Let’s not even get into what schools consider “careers” – if it doesn’t have a fancy title or a 4-year coarse behind it, it isn’t one.

I was lucky.  Little did I know when I posted that blog, that halfway through Year 12 I’d get accepted into film school and it would make my end of year results irrelevant.  Little did I know at that time that film school (although fun) would take me absolutely nowhere and I’d be forging a career in telco.  This is exactly what I mean by putting so much pressure on young people though.  In that post, I’m frantically trying to pick a job out of thin air that I know very little about.  I landed on a sound technician (which I’ll bet is generally a super boring job aside from the occasional live-show gigs) or a computer technician (ha, with my maths skills?  I don’t think so).  It wasn’t until partway through year 12 I decided to pursue film, and honestly, even that was on a bit of a whim.

You have to do something.

That’s the mentality of the final years of high school.  As you’re finishing your education, it’s like a rite of passage that you go to uni.  I mean, sure, you can take a gap year if you need some time away from study, but even then the idea of that is you’ll go right back to uni after you’ve had your fun.  Not once did anyone ever say “keep working in retail until you know what you want, it’s okay”.  I wish someone would have though.  Maybe I wouldn’t have wasted my parents money doing a coarse I’ll never use.  Maybe I’d like retail.  Granted, the pay isn’t fantastic, but it’s still a career path.  You can still work your way up like any job.  And if you’ve done retail for awhile and then finally work out what you want to do with your life, what have you wasted?  Only a little bit of time, but chances are if you hadn’t given yourself that, you’d probably be studying something completely different.  What’s a year or two in a shitty job if it means you’ll make the right choice longterm?  This is what schools should be saying.  They won’t though, because I’m sure it makes them look fantastic if they can say “two-thirds of our year level went on to do further studies”.  They’ll never follow up to see how many of those same students wound up working in the field they studied in (or even how many finished the coarse in the first place).

This is where the education system fails people.  It’s all a big competition.  Instead of making it about the students, it’s about the results.  All that means is students are worked too hard to get grades they may never even need, to be brainwashed into thinking they absolutely have to do further studies.  It results in depression, anxiety, kids dropping out of school early or, worse, suicide.  Over what?  A stupid coarse that’s make-or-break over a stupid final mark?

Fuck that shit.

Especially because after 21, that mark becomes absolutely irrelevant.  You’re classified as a mature-aged student and you have free choice of almost any coarse you like.  Let me restate that again for you: kids are literally killing themselves trying to get into a coarse at age 18 they could breeze into at age 21.  All because the schools are acting like it’s the most important thing in the world.

To anyone still in school reading this, please don’t get caught up in all this bullshit.  You’re so young.  Enjoy it.  Don’t let anyone convince you that your final marks are the be-all-and-end-all.  Please don’t think you need to have a life plan now.  Things will change, people will come and go from your life, your attitudes and ideas and mindsets will shift.  You have no idea what lies ahead, and making a life plan before you’re out of teenage-hood is absolutely crazy and a waste of precious time.   Don’t get me wrong, if you have an idea, go for it.  Ultimately, a couple of years spent in retail, or on a coarse that doesn’t help you, is nothing.  Stressing about it all is something though – it’s bad for your health and you’re too young for that.  You’ll have so many reasons to stress later in life, don’t let it get to you now!  Go out, be crazy and take heaps and heaps of photos.  You’ll never be this young and free again!

What are your thoughts?  Did you wind up doing the job you thought you would at age 16?

-JD

My First Crush

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Crush.”
Who was your first childhood crush? What would you say to that person if you saw him/her again?

My first crush happened when I was eleven, on a boy a year and two foot taller than me.  We met on the first day of my-grade-five-his-grade-six year (we were in a composite class).  At first, he just came off as weird, and was one of those guys that everyone got on with, but not many would actually go so far as to call him a friend.

Over the next couple of months we got to know each other better.  He was so funny.  Like, he could turn any situation into something worth laughing about.  He had the class in stitches at least once a day.  He was good to talk to, and would actually listen.  That’s no small fete for a twelve year old.

Throughout the course of the year we kept getting closer, until I was choosing to hang out with him at lunch over my other friends.  People started commenting, saying we were dating – a big, strange concept at that age.  I didn’t really understand it, and I don’t think he did either, but I’m sure if this had of happened a few years later, we would have wound up together.  Instead, we just kept up this awkward I-like-you-you-like-me friendship.

Then suddenly, it was over.  School finished for the year, he went off to high school and we lost contact.  This was about two or three years before MSN and MySpace really took off, and back then none of us had mobile phones.  It was pretty much the end when you went to different schools, unless you called their home phone…and that wasn’t going to happen.

While I wasn’t in love with him, it was still my first taste of heartbreak.  I missed him terribly that summer.  Eventually, I got on with things, as we all do.  I finished primary school and headed off to high school…the same one he went to.  By then, over a year had passed since we’d seen each other, and that’s a long time when you’re young.

About a month or so into my first year at high school, as I was standing around waiting to go into class, he comes up to me out of the blue, a big goofy smile on his face.  “Remember me?” he asks.  I nod and say of course.  We didn’t really have anything to talk about as so much seemed to have changed, and we didn’t try to talk again after that.  Kind of sad how time changes everything, isn’t it?

If I spoke to him today, I’m not sure what I’d say.  I suppose I should ask him if he wanted to get a drink, catch up, see how things went…you know, see if the connection is still there somewhere.  Whether I would actually do that, though, I don’t know.  Some things are best left in the past.

#loveme challenge – Day Eighteen


Day 18 – Something that Feeds Your Brain

I think the best thing to feed my brain is reading.  It’s something I don’t do anywhere near enough of, but I can feel myself getting smarter (or at least, some of my smarts returning after magically disappearing once high school let out).  It’s something I did religiously as a kid.  I always had stacks of books waiting for me from the library, and I’d devoure story after story.  I remember I started with Grug as I was just beginning to read, then moved to Goosebumps and the Baby Sitters Club.  When I was a bit older I got into the Mary-Kate and Ashley books, then John Marsden’s the Tomorrow Series.  Then someone introduced me to the Sims and suddenly reading wasn’t so important any more.

I got back into it a couple of years ago, re-reading the Artemis Fowl books (which are awesome!), then getting lost in the back catalogues of Catherine Ryan Hyde and Jodi Picoult.  I finally got into Harry Potter as well.  So many wonderful stories and characters!  As much as I love video games and cartoons, nothing makes my brain tick like a good book.  I really do need to make more of an effort to keep reading.  It’s so easy these days to chuck on the TV instead.

-JD

#loveme challenge – Day Fourteen

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Day 14 – Share a Fear You Overcame

This one goes back a loooooong time.  When I was little, I was terrified of dogs.  Like, I couldn’t be in the same room as them…or same house…or park.  I don’t know why exactly, though I could guess that being that small they must have looked like giants with big teeth and scary barks.  Plus, even since I can remember, we had this terrifying black dog “toy” that I hated.  It was about the size of an actual small dog, and was on wheels and had a handle.  I still don’t really understand what the point of it was.  Was it for me to ride on when I was tiny?  Was I supposed to push it around like a kiddie stroller?  Was I supposed to pet it like it was a real dog?  I have no idea.  All I remember is, when it was nighttime I had to walk past the playroom it was stored in to get to my bedroom, and all I could see through the darkness were its glassy eyes looking back at me.  I would sprint past the room every night.  Needless to say, I never once played with it.

The fear got worse when I was about five.  I was at a park with my mum and baby sister, and all I remember was being chased by a labrador.  I was terrified and screaming my head off and my shoes fell off and I kept running.  The dog obviously thought it was a game, and chased me.  The owner didn’t step in at all.  What sort of person lets their big dog chase a screaming five year old?  I don’t know.  An asshole, no doubt.

My sister (always the opposite of me) loved animals.  She wasn’t afraid of them, she talked about them all the time…yeah, she was one of those kids.  When she turned 4, my parents decided to get her a dog.  That was the excuse, anyway, though I have a sneaking suspicion the real reason was because they were embarrassed about having a 7-year-old that was mortally afraid of canines.

I remember all the homework my mum did on which dog breed to get.  She trawled through paperwork and books.  She wasn’t sure if she wanted a tiny dog or a slightly bigger one.  She’s grown up with all kind of dog breeds; my dad hadn’t had any at all.  I know deep down she wanted a corgi, but I guess she found too many reasons not to as it didn’t make the final list of options.  I don’t really remember what I was feeling as this was going on, though I can guess I didn’t like it.

The day finally came when mum had found a breed she was happy with, and a breeder with puppies.  We drove all the way to Geelong (which felt like forever at that age).  There was only one puppy left.  I don’t remember any of it, but dad has told us countless times that the first time he met the puppy, she peed on him.  I guess she claimed him as her own, because she came home with us.

On the way back, we discussed names.  I remember that.  It came down to two options, Wags (yes, like the Wiggles) or Patch, because of the big black spot on her back.  We ultimately went with Patch, which is probably a better option given Wags is horribly ironic when she had a docked tail.

I don’t remember how long it took me to come around to her, though I feel like it actually wasn’t long.  I guess maybe because she was so small and the rest of the family seemed to be okay with her, then I was too.

She grew up with me, my faithful furry friend.  She lived for 17 years, passing away from kidney failure last year.  It was tough, but she’d lived a long (spoilt) life, and by the end was blind, mostly-deaf and somewhat incontinent.  She’s the reason I love animals now, and the reason I have my own fluffy friend.  I’m glad she came into my life and helped me overcome my fears.  I’m sure eventually I would have to some degree, but I know I wouldn’t love dogs like I do now.

Thank you Patchy, RIP ❤

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By Heart

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “By Heart.”
You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?

Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young…
– A E Houseman

I’ve been obsessed with the ‘Tomorrow’ series by John Marsden for over a decade.  I’ve read the books, I’ve listened over and over to the audiobooks.  It’s my favourite series ever.  That poem (or I guess, a portion of it) was in one of the books, and it’s stuck by me ever since I first came across it.  Firstly, it’s such a beautifully written piece, there’s no denying that.  But secondly, it really speaks to me, particularly as the poem was originally based on soldiers in World War 1, and I found it via a book series based around a fictional war.  It reflects the bravery that soldiers have…a bravery I can scarcely wrap my head around.  More than that, it speaks of an attitude most of us have towards dying.  It’s always surprised me when older people say that aren’t afraid of death, or they’d welcome it (and mean it).  I know some of the time it’s due to their faith and belief in what’s coming next…something I don’t really have.  I mean I have hopes and wishes of what it will be but no faith it will eventuate that way.  But to hear someone say they’d welcome death in a genuine, not-depressed way…I just can’t imagine how to feel like that.  Death is such a final thing.  You leave your body, you are no longer part of the world, you no longer exist.  How does anyone welcome that?  How does anyone have so much faith in whatever belief they hold that they aren’t even a teensy bit afraid of what will happen?  This is why the poem speaks to me.  It puts it into a perspective I’d never previously thought about.  “But young men think it is/and we were young”.  Maybe I just can’t imagine it because I’m just too young?  Maybe it takes decades of living to appreciate the end of it?  After all, the only young people who I’ve heard genuinely say they’d welcome death are those who have suffered through horrendous loss or disease…those that mentally age us beyond anything else.  This is why I’ve memorised that poem, and why I hold it so dear.  I helps me make sense of it all.  Funny how three short lines can have such a profound impact.

-JD