As research for this blog, I asked friends on Facebook and Instagram, “Do you think your school days were the best? Or do you prefer life as an adult?” Whilst the majority of people said they preferred life as an adult, I had such a mixed bag of responses and was over the moon when so many people reached out to express their opinions. So, to everyone who took the time to respond – THANK YOU SO MUCH! I was really keen to express other view points as well as my own, and so…
“I much prefer life now than school; I have more independence and confidence”
“School offered freedom and innocence, the adventure of new experiences, the carelessness of youth, discovery, excitement. Depending on what you do for a living as an adult, it can be rewarding and liberating or restrictive and claustrophobic.”
“You couldn’t pay me to do my five years at school again, school years are the worst by far.”
“I loved school! You had no worries and got to see your best friends every single day.”
“I only really enjoyed seeing friends at school.”
“My adult years were better.”
“My school days were fun but definitely not the best. Uni was even better and I would say now my 30s are my best!”
“Some days I think yes and others I think no. I find it really sad when old people are less in touch with their inner child, get lost in the day to day and forget about doing what’s good for the soul.”
“For someone with ambition and creativity, being an adult is much more fulfilling due to the freedom and independence. I found school very limiting.”
From seeing your best friends every day to having dedicated break and lunch times, where you could literally just run around like a maniac for an hour, they say your school days are the best of your life.
But I disagree. Hogwarts? St Trinian’s. It was not. Even though I will forever refuse to admit that I am a ‘grown-up,’ I prefer being an adult and I’m going to tell you why.
Don’t get me wrong, there were so many moments at school that I loved. Playing pretend games with my friends at primary school, gossiping with the girls about boys we liked at lunch time at secondary school. I loved learning too and always felt great when I answered a question right or got a good mark. I’d be inwardly cabbage patching because in that moment I felt unstoppable. Like an absolute boss.
However, were these the best days of my life?
I wasn’t confident. I wasn’t sure of myself. A tiny little fishie in a bloody big pond. I remember hating break times at secondary school (probably from year 9 – 11) as everyone started to mingle and just chat with anyone. That wasn’t my style. Not because I was an anti social little so and so, but more because I was trapped in the self-conscious cocoon of awkwardness that most teenagers battle with. “What do I say? What will they think of me? Does my opinion matter?” were thoughts that would regularly go through my head.
How different to the Sarah of 2017. If I want to say something, the only reason I don’t say it is if I know it’s inappropriate or offensive to someone. And then sometimes I still say it because fuck it, you only live once and I’d rather speak up when I have the opportunity than suffer in silence and regret it later on. As my sassy best friend Aman always tells me, “You be you, hoe.”
But being yourself doesn’t wash with everyone when you’re at school. As a child / young adult, you have no choice in who you’re surrounded by. You can (to an extent) avoid people in the playground, but you can’t avoid your teacher seating you next to that absolute arsehole in maths who is hell-bent on making that hour of your life miserable.*
*DISCLAIMER: I saw Maths Twat (everyone on this blog gets a fake name or nickname and boy, I like this one) a year or so ago and he was on crutches. Not that I ever want anyone to get hurt, like I seriously don’t. But, it was proof that the phrase, “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” is very true.
*Posh voice* Nasty bastards were aplenty. They even came in the form of friends, sometimes. I’m only talking about a few individuals from secondary school and sixth form here by the way. None at Primary School whatsoever. My Pedmore Primary girlies were angels and I’m still besties with two of them (shoutout to Ellie and Nicole – love you!).
Anyhoo – I remember I was so easy to manipulate in a friendship group as a teenager. Because when you’re the ‘nice one’ who so eagerly wants to be accepted and part of something, you just let it go when your friend is being a bit of a bitch. You think, “Oh, maybe she’s having a bad day.” Then, when it continues, you make excuses like, “Oh, that’s just what she’s like. It’s fine,” when she’s being a complete snake and passive aggressively insulting you. Is it fine though? Is it really?
It took me so long to be able to stand up to people and grow a thick skin. Instead of learning to deal with it or voicing my opinion, I would hold it in until I’d cry. Yep, I was a crier. Not so much in front of people. But more at home, hosting my own little pity party for one and thinking, “Why are they mean to me? What have I done wrong?” I was like that when I first started work too. Little scared 18 year old Sarah.
Fast forward to 2017 and I’m surrounded by fantastic friends, wonderful colleagues and have cut out the people that don’t add value to my life. And sister, let me tell you, that’s something that you should never feel guilty for. I like to think of the nasty bastards one by one as a plaster. Just rip ’em off, put ’em in the bin and move on. Done, dusted and out of your life. It’s hard at first but gets easier with practice. Seriously, I think I could put cutting people out as a skill on my LinkedIn – I really have become the master.
Enough about them though – let’s talk about you! Remember the build up as a kid to growing up? So much of it is exciting – the little things like, what colour will I paint my front door? Imagine when I can drive myself to the shops and even go on holiday anywhere I want in the whole wide world!
But, at least for me, this sense of adventure was also laced with fear. The fear of standing still. That once you leave school, you’re in the same routine of going to work, coming home and dealing with countless responsibilities like (eventually) tiny humans and mortgages every day until you’re wrinkled, retired and then dead.
I know this is extreme, but that is how adulthood is sometimes painted out to kids. That now’s the time not to worry and have fun, because the worry will come thick and fast later on. I think it’s done to make kids appreciate what they have which I understand, but equally, it’s a great way to give them a fear of the unknown that constantly lingers around like a bad smell.
In reality, adulthood is not like you’re standing still. At least, not in the early days when you’re tiny human free. Yes, you have to work (unless you’re some sort of Kardashian), but if you wake up excited about the day ahead with pure, unadulterated passion for what you do running through your veins – working is fun.
Plus, did I mention… you get money!? Money to pay the bills and afford to live and do the typical adult things, yes, but also – money to go on holidays, to make memories you’ll tell your grandkids, to spend on books, your cat, a floppy hat – anything!
To me, adulthood brings adventures beyond the stretch of the imagination.
Children love dreaming and thinking, but their age stops them from getting out there and actually doing. As adults, we dream, we think and then?
Then we do.
We have what we didn’t have as children. Freedom. The freedom to go and pursue our passions. The independence to dictate exactly what we want from life – whether or not we know how we’re going to get it. And, when you realise that? That is when you realise how fulfilling being a ‘grown-up’ really is.
What do you think? x
Image credit: giphy.com