As May quickly approaches and the reality of the fact that the life that you have lived for the last thirteen years is about to end, you can’t help but to worry.
For the majority of your life, you have been told how to feel, how to dress, what to eat, and even when to use the bathroom. You were discouraged from being too expressive, and might have even gotten in trouble for trying to make decisions for yourself. The schooling system is extremely robotic and honestly exhausting, but you cannot help but to feel a crushing wave of fear once you realize that in a few short months you will be released to the world and nobody will be there to control your every move. The prospect of this freedom can seem both daunting and exhilarating.
For the first time in your life, you can get in a car and drive away for hours if you desire to.
For the first time in your life, you can do ‘adult’ things like buying a house, getting married, and having children without having society judge you for it.
For the first time in your life, you get to choose.
And I know people might act like the only option for you after high school is college. Or they might act like you should immediately enter the workforce. Or they might even tell you that you should get married and start a family because you won’t stay young forever. And any of those things are completely valid options and you should consider everything that interests you, but the most important thing that you can do during this time of your life is to do what makes you happy.
I know that you are scared, that you feel like the choices you make at this very moment can determine your entire future. I know that you might feel that you should be doing one thing to make those around you happy even though something else might draw to you more. I know that you are worried about losing the friendships that you have had for years.
And, here’s a secret that nobody likes to tell us. It is absolutely okay to be scared.
Do you think that our parents knew exactly what they were going to do for the rest of their life when they were seventeen years old? Do you think that your grandparents knew that they would one day spending most of their retirement scrolling through Facebook? Do you think that ANYBODY is 100% certain in the decisions that they make?
Of course not!
We are humans. We make mistakes. We do not know the answer to everything. And I know sometimes it might feel like everybody else around you has their life perfectly planned out, but I promise it is not.
Life is a fluid thing. You might think that you are destined to be a teacher in a middle school right now, but when you go to college and you could realize that you despise education classes. Or you might think that you want to immediately go into the workforce, and find yourself six months later googling online classes to be an engineer. Everything can change in the blink of an eye because nothing is ever set in stone. You can be the happiest you ever been on one day and then experiencing your biggest heartbreak the next.
Not many things are in our control, and that just becomes more evident when you graduate high school and are no longer taking part of a daily routine. But the most vital thing that is in your control is your freedom of choice.
Don’t let the people around you make your decisions in life for you. Look inside your heart, find what makes you feel excited, and chase after that.
Are you going to screw up as you navigate through your life? Of course. Everybody does. Are you going to experience moments where you feel like you are lost and alone? Sadly, yes. But those moments are what makes the times when you’re smiling so hard that you feel like your cheeks are going to break so much more worth it.
I know it can be scary to have this era of your life end, but you need to remember that this is not the end of your life. This is simply just the start of your next chapter.