Just Another Teenage Dilemma

January 29, 2014
As a teenager nearing the end of high school, there is always this moment when an adult asks, “What subject and university are you thinking of applying to?”

Sometimes, the kid answers right away; those do-gooders who know exactly what they are going to do and where they’re going to go—you know they’re going to be somebody awesome some day. God, I hate those kids solely because I want to be one of them. However, from personal experience and observation, I know that what usually occurs (at least, to the people I know) is that they either:

a)Proceed to place their hands on their face and downright sob.
b)Decide to laugh it off, like the question was a genuine rhetorical joke.
c)Leave the room and drown themselves with funny Tumblr posts to keep their mind off their impending doom.

Of course, it’s extremely hilarious to watch, except when you’re going through that pain. Then, it’s just plain torture.

It’s actually really ironic how the thought of deciding your future makes you not want to live it at all. I was once okay with growing up because independence sounded really fun—I was getting tired of being told to eat my vegetables, and button up when winter came along. But then I realized, growing up meant having to buy your own animal crackers and not raging at people the way teens had the right to do, and I don’t think I could handle that. How could anyone handle that? Growing up, in my mind, was like handing over your angel wings, and declaring yourself some mundane, unoriginal apple in a whole farm of apple trees.

Coming up with back-up plans was the result of this ‘what-are-you-going-to-do-with-your-life’ dilemma. There was this one day when my friend and I agreed on something vital, something that could change my life if given the chance; if going to a university and getting a good job didn't work out, we would raid IKEA at midnight (like ninjas) and sleep on their beds and eat all their delicious hot dogs [WARNING: IKEA, if for some reason you are reading this, you can’t arrest me because I didn't do anything yet]. The second plan was that we’d buy a tent and then just camp for the rest of our lives, like an adventure that would never end. I’m still betting on that plan, by the way.

I had this one friend. He was brilliant and all at school, but just plain inane at common sense and everyday logic. He decided one day that he would flip a coin; heads for Health Science, and tails for Sociology. Of course, that was completely foolish, but this is what kids did right? We decided things on luck, because how did anybody expect us to figure out our life out at age sixteen? The hardest thing my friends and I have probably ever seriously contemplated about was whether Doctor Who or Sherlock was a better show (and we never even came to a conclusion).

It was that moment, when he flipped the coin, that I figured something out—it wasn't an epiphany or something, because I don’t know if it changed my life, but I did figure out that if I just did things I loved, took courses that sounded interesting, I would end up somewhere I liked. It was a lot heck better than tossing a coin, at least.

I thought that choosing what you wanted to pursue in university was like choosing one thing for the rest of your life, and that’s it. But it’s not like that; life’s never like that. My options were going to narrow as I progressed through life, whether I chose things or not, but it didn't mean that I couldn't read about Psychology if I became a microbiologist.

I know that this doesn't exactly solve my problems. I’m still going to stay up through the night, thinking of what I imagined myself doing in the far future. I’m still going to talk about becoming a professional Tumblr-er (it will exist sometime in the near future, I guarantee you). And I will still probably flip a table when somebody asks me, “What do you want to do with your life?”

But on the bright side, there is none so everybody just grab a camera and go on a road trip and never grow up and run away while you can. No, I’m just kidding, on the bright side, you can still act like a kid sometimes, even when you’re grown up. Just look at my dad, he still enjoys Kool Aid and Dr. Seuss on the weekends.

By the way, my friend’s coin? Yeah, someone stole it before it could land on the ground.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

CarlyKatherine said...
Feb. 2, 2014 at 7:29 pm
Omg. I love the ending to your story! Hahaha! I also feel that the future is terrifying... I do not have your problem though. I know what I want to be when I enter adult hood (I hate the term "grow up" so childish sounding). The thing is what I want to do, become a writer, isn't really probable considering I am not all that good at grammar. Its terrifying knowing what you want to be and knowing that will probably never become it just as much as it is not knowing w... (more »)
MerelyDreamingOutLoud This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 3, 2014 at 6:20 pm
Hey, I know what you mean when what you want to be is something where everybody's telling you you don't have a chance, but don't give up. And more importantly, don't stop doing what you love, even if you can't do it as your job. Many writers have written books in their spare time, so don't sweat it :D You have your whole life to write. Oh, and just keep reading, and keep thinking - see how writers manipulate words to create emotion. At least, that's what I'm tryin... (more »)
CarlyKatherine replied...
Feb. 3, 2014 at 7:22 pm
Your welcome! It was really a great story. Thanks for the advice :)
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