Middle school: the worst years of your life
College: the best years of your life
So what does that make high school? The least worst years? The most agonizingly fun years? The I am miserable but all of the movies tell me this is supposed to be a blast so I'm going to smile and continue to shove pizza in my mouth because I don't know any of the people at this party years?
Ah, yes. It really is the best of times, and the worst of times.
It's the "have fun!!" message with a subliminal "I am putting immense pressure on you to have fun because your youth is wasting and life is downhill from here!!" message.
I can't tell you how many adults have told me I should enjoy eating an entire jar of nutella/staying up past midnight/shaving my head/tattooing my eyeball/whatever they think millennials do nowadays while I can because someday I'm going to be an adult with responsibilities but of course I wouldn't know anything about that because I'm a teenager.
Well, let me tell you something I do know. Teenagers do, in fact, understand what hardships are in store for us. We know how to budget our money because soon enough, we're going to have to take out a $35,000 loan so that we can job hop over a dozen times. We do know about the water crisis and what plastic and fuel emissions is doing to our environment because we're going to be inheriting this planet from our predecessors. And, yes, we even keep up on politics and know more about the candidates than the arbitrary memes that accompany them.
As a 17 year old, I am playing a constant tug-of-war with what I'm supposed to be doing and what I'm really supposed to be doing, each suggestion made by well meaning adults more vague and confusing than the last. Yes, you should definitely choose a college at age 17 that you'll be paying off for the next 30 years, but I don't trust you out at the mall past 9pm. Yes, you should definitely be involved in politics, but I don't want you to vote because you're not mature enough. Yes, you should decide what career you want to have for the rest of your life, but how could you possibly know your sexuality at your age?
It's a cycle of you have to's and you cant's. I'm hoping that in my last 5 months of being 17, I can escape.