I have never before been so grateful for my scattered interests and random fragments of knowledge. To be a hobbyist is to pursue an interest to the point where it becomes a personality trait, a part of you.
Personally, I always found it difficult to answer the questions about the future whereas my classmates erupted in a flurry of ideas. I remained silent, retreating into my shell, hoping no one would notice my lack of response. Everyone seems centred around the future and yet where others saw crystal clear dreams ahead; I stared into a blur. Everyone else strategically picked classes, extracurriculars and volunteering opportunities,designed to grant them the best chance at success - be it for university, careers or simply due to a fluent and continuous sense of self. In contrast, on paper, I look disjointed: grabbing every opportunity that came my way, joining every class and every extracurricular I could get my hands on. Admittedly, for a while, I was desperate to secure my future and since I had no clue (and still don’t) about what it might be I gripped onto every single option - determined not to let it slip by me.
A few years later, I have realised a few things about myself. I still don’t know what the future holds for me and I haven’t yet developed a sense of continuous theme - a coherent personality perse - but I have grown to accept that. In fact, I embrace it now. A few decisions have passed me by, but that’s okay. I may not be as interested in my chosen subjects as I am in psychology, literature or economics, but I’ve discovered that there are so many ways to learn; to expand your knowledge, you don’t have to have it scheduled or tested, you simply have to want to learn it - and perhaps that is what preserves my interest in them. On paper, I still seem a little scatter-brained and a little disoriented, but in person I am a patchwork of interests, hobbies and bite-sized factoids, and I know so many little things that others may not have cared for and I treasure them all. There is a passion that seeps in when I talk about them and although our conversations will never flow in a coherent manner as I leap from art history to biotechnology, you will never be bored.
Especially during COVID times, it is important to have an activity that will keep you grounded: the feel of paint against your fingers, the pulse of your body as you dance, the clickety-clack of the yielding keyboard as you code furiously - everything in this moment is just as memorable, just as important as what is to come. How can you expect to have memories to look back on fondly if you never have the time to make them? Everyone pines for ‘casual magic,’ but the truth is sometimes we have to carve out those moments ourselves. Take time to appreciate the little things: the way you hum while you brush your teeth, the way the sunlight dims as the rainclouds approach, the way you sway your hips as you pour your cereal. All these little things which define us.
People don’t find their passions; they make them. The more time you invest, the better you get and the better you get the more you like it and suddenly you have a vested interest in it. Sure, the conversation may start with probing questions into future plans and how you’re going to get there, but what will you say when they ask you what you did today? Or yesterday? Or in the past week? It is impossible to get excited with someone who simply isn’t interesting - or interested in being interesting. We are an amalgamation of all the moments we spend awake, and what good is it if you spend half of your life preparing for the next half? No one wants to only be half a person, but to be whole we have to realise that the present you deserves just as much time, attention and appreciation as future you.
Now, I am excited for the future, even though I don’t know anything definitively. I can see all the paths ahead of me but I can also see their intersections - I understand that maybe in the middle I may want to change and I will be able to. Or maybe I don’t want to choose and I’ll put in a little effort and build bridges between them so I can live all my dreams. The future is not something to be afraid of; it is not something which must be detailed by the second. The future is merely a faint reflection of your present so invest in yourself, grow your interests, make more memories.
I can’t wait to be the person I’ll blossom into.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.