December 31, 2011

everyday is eve



This is not a stereotypical New Year's Eve post. I'm not the biggest fan of all the New Year's Eve hoorah, whether it be the partying or the resolutions or the expectation. But I do think it's a good time to reflect. To look at the year gone past - the disappointments, the joys, the good days and the bad days. What you wish did happen and what you wish didn't. To think if 2011 lived up to your expectations. And it's a lovely night to spend with friends.

What I don't like about New Year's Eve is that everyone expects the next day will be completely different, when in reality the 1st of January is just another day. My point is that making resolutions isn't going to change anything. January 1st can be different, but that will only happen if you choose it to be. Because New Year's Resolutions without action are merely empty promises. I feel that we have this culture that New Year's Eve is the night to make changes and do the things you've been meaning to do, the only night.

I think that we should treat every day as New Year's Eve. If you want something in your life to be different - change it. Change it now, whenever the hell "now" is. But if it takes December 31st to get you to start, well that's better than nothing. If the clock hitting midnight tonight gives you the kick up the bum to do what you've been wanting to do, or say what you've been meaning to say, then that is so much better than sitting there expecting life to change of it's accord.

I don't have resolutions, more dreams. And they're things I've had for a while. And they'll probably change over the course of the year and that is perfectly okay. As long I take action when I want things to be different or better, 2012 will be awesome for me. I hope it's awesome for you too.

December 19, 2011

best


A month ago I sat my first external exams. In Tasmania, scores are taken from your best five pre-tertiary subjects from grades eleven and twelve. I've just finished grade eleven and did three pre-T subjects. Earlier this week I got my results. And this is where the story starts.

I've always been a bit of a spock. I'm not good at sport or music or art, but academic schoolwork has often been my strength during my whole school career. I'm not that kid who is unnaturally good at everything or gets huffy when they don't come first every time; I just like learning and enjoy school.

I started college this year and really enjoyed it. The social aspect, the independence aspect, even the schoolwork and classes were good. That doesn't mean it's easy though. During the external exam period in November, I worked hard and wrote a study mantra above my desk that said, "All you can do is your best."

So that's what I did. I studied hard to my full capabilities. I sat my exams and I did my best. And for me that was enough, because that was all I could do. However, my results did not reflect that. Or that's how I felt. I passed and I did okay - not great - but competently. I have no problem whatsoever with not being the best, but I was disappointed because two of my subjects dropped significantly from the highest award to an average award. I was upset at the time, but now in hindsight I am not as bothered by it. I still have another year, and my chances for the universities I want to go to are not lost.

I felt incredibly conflicted when I first found out my results because I was disappointed in myself for not externally regaining the results I already had internally, but then at the same time I was still proud of the colossal effort I put in. It was like loving and hating myself all at the same time.

So I suppose my question is, what do you do when your best isn't good enough?

Now I've had a few days to process I feel fine about my results - sure I would have liked to do better, but it's not the end of the world. Now I'm proud because I did my best. And I only just missed higher awards, as I had the maximum Commendable Achievement score for each of my three subjects.  I don't expect to be excellent at everything I attempt in life, because I'm sure as hell not going to be. But what this has taught me is that even though you will work your butt off and ignore the other things in life to do your best in a particular area, sometimes it just won't pay off how you imagined it would. And there is no fault in you as a person if you did your best. Because to be honest, that's all we can do.

December 18, 2011

it's beginning to feel a lot like christmas



I'm a mad Christmas child. Absolutely love it. However this year I was struggling to get into the Christmas spirit, despite having our decorations up for a couple of weeks. I think part of it was owed to the fact that usually I finish school a week before Christmas - so as soon as holidays start the Christmas excitement does. However this year I've already been on holidays for a month. I started to worry, "What if I've grown up?!" But I can gladly confirm that I haven't and probably never will. Because it is now a week til Christmas and I am so excited!

On Friday I finished buying all my Christmas presents, which I love even if my bank balance doesn't. I love getting gifts, but I really enjoy buying them for other people too. Me and my friends had a Christmas party last night where we listened to carols, ate roast (amongst a lot of other things) and exchanged Secret Santa presents and had a lot of fun. This morning my church had their Christmas service and afterwards me and my friend went shopping and bought each other a Christmas present. And I've also found my favourite green santa hat, which I have to have for Christmas. 

I love Christmas carols and have been listening to Relient K's 2007 Christmas album. My favourite Christmas carol ever is probably Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas which Relient K cover wonderfully and their version of Sleigh Ride is lovely too. Actually all the songs are good. But the song that really got me is an original titled I Celebrate The DayMost people reading this would know that I'm a Christian (and if you didn't you do now). My beliefs are a huge part of me and I suppose I don't really overtly express them on my blog. But to explain what Christmas is to me I can't not. I respect that Christmas means something different to every single person and I think that's great. I am not saying what Christmas should be for you, I am saying what it is for me. Previously I've allowed it to become about materialism, and don't get me wrong, gifts and food are great, but this year I just feel like there are more important things. For me Christmas is about baby Jesus, but more importantly what followed that birth. These are the lyrics to I Celebrate The Day which convey what I'm trying to saying in a far more effective way: 

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me, in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might [ really ]live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

I suppose in some way or another I have matured this Christmas, because now this is the most important thing even in amongst my excitement for everything else. I even feel so grateful that I get to spend Christmas with my family even though it's just the four of us. I think Christmas is a time that shows everyone that there's a little good in everything, it's a time for fun and for family and most importantly, Christmas shows that there is something greater than us. I think I finally understand the true spirit of Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!



December 7, 2011

the realest world


In high school we are told about the “real world”. School is spent working hard and kissing arse (or maybe not at all), to establish ourselves in such world once we graduate. It is an attitude that is presented to adolescents by teachers and parents and other adults that claim the “real world” is a whole lot different than the world of teenagers.

There are aspects of truth to this statement. Obviously teenagers and adults face different circumstances and challenges, so our worlds are different. But I dislike the phrase “the real world” because it promotes that what teenagers experience is not real. Which can then lead to the impression that it’s not okay to be struggling if it’s not even the “real world”. In my opinion, if you are on planet Earth, you are in the real world.

When teenagers hear the phrase it is frustrating and patronising. High school and college are hard, and for some, they are hell. When you’re a teenager there are countless things to keep you awake at night – schoolwork, dating, partying, peer pressure, parents, friends, bullying – whatever the circumstance. The teenage years, especially from aged fifteen onwards, are a period that one is trying to discover himself or herself, while at the same time keeping good grades, pleasing parents and being “cool”. There can be a lot going on.

So when someone mentions “the real world” - and the fact that we’re apparently not in it - it can throw a spanner in the works. Because for teenagers, life is bloody hard enough without condescending adults looking down their noses at our experiences.

On the other hand, I do see the perspective from which adults look at teenagers. They’ve been in our shoes and already experienced the years of teenage angst. I think that adults tend to use the phrase “the real world” because of a few reasons. Firstly because they’ve forgotten exactly what teenage years entailed, but most importantly because as adults, they now hold a more educated perspective. They’ve had ten or twenty or thirty years to look back on being a teenager, and in context of mortgages and families and full time jobs they see teenage years as relatively simplistic compared to their current lives.

It’s the same kind of thing as when last year I sat end of grade ten exams (which don’t count for much). I held relatively high importance on exams and did let a bit of stress get to me. Now this year when my grade ten friends had to sit the same exams I was all like, “Why are you stressed about that? They don’t mean anything!” I had that attitude because not only had I already experienced grade ten exams, but also because I had just finished the much harder and more important grade eleven exams. But for my grade ten friends, the exams were still important because that was the season of life they were in. When I was in grade ten, older friends told me the same thing too but it made absolutely no difference to how I felt or acted.

I understand this completely from both perspectives. But I think the term “the real world” should not be used. Whatever your world attains at the current time is okay. Teenager or adult, you are still living life. Whatever you’re feeling is okay. But that doesn’t mean you have to act on those feelings. Because life is also fun. Adults should remember that teenagers do not have it completely easy and us teenagers should give adults more credit than we do. And then we should all get back to living life. On the real world – the only world.