junior year is a tough one
June 10, 2022 |
Holy. Crap. Junior year in high school.
Do you remember the end of your junior year, complete with final exams and SATs and ACTs and the added pressure of every third person asking you where you want to go to college?
It felt endless.
Add in high school teenage drama, i.e. mean girls (thank you Samantha for shoving me into my locker because the guy you liked looked at me instead of you during Italian class!).
Add in high school parent drama (sorry Morrissey, for not running away to London to marry you so we could get all dark and broody together!)
Being a teenager was hard. But we survived. Because here you are reading this email.
As my twin girls near the end of their junior year with their International Baccalaureate final exams looming, along with a summer ahead full of IAs and EEs and TOKs and please skip this sentence if you are not in an IB program or if you don’t work at the United Nations and was trained like I was to make perfect sense out of acronyms. That alone could be another email.
For this email, I just wanted to share how hard it is to be a kid sometimes. And specifically a teenager.
To grow up so quickly and then take all the anxiety the world feeds us straight into our adulthood.
When we arrive at adulthood, the responsibilities compound and it’s too easy to give up how we like to play in lieu of more important tasks.
Since I write a lot about play, I am more aware about when and why we lose our sense of it. Sadly, this loss starts young and seems to exponentially grow as the pressures of life pummel us in adulthood, only to peter out slightly when we have grandkids or retire and start making snowmen or going on beach walks again.
Why? Why can’t we choose play AND do what we need to do? Isn’t that what work-life balance means? Why does the life side always lose?
Consider this from last week: not going to the gymnastics practice you love because you have to study.
Or this: not going away for the weekend with a friend because you have to take yet another practice SAT, a test which means utterly nothing when you get out into the real world. I mean, have you ever been asked which president served as both Chief Executive and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? Super cool if you know the answer but a passage about it with trick questions that decides your academic fate if you get it right?
Or get this: NOT going to the Coldplay concert this past weekend because of the overwhelming pressure to study for final exams, which we did together on our NYC roof so it was at least gorgeous. But imagine! We had tickets, and it was right across the Hudson River! (Meanwhile, I coach my clients about their specific energies, so I know exactly which negative energy level I’m in when I feel stuck in regret yet I still can’t shake missing Coldplay…)
All of this is to say that we do the same thing as adults: we see fun, or the times where we feel happiest, as “frivolous” or “extra” which is why they can easily fall onto the cutting room floor.
As if it’s one or the other.
I’m not saying don’t do what you need to do. Study hard and work hard (I’m pretty much glued to my computer and told I work too much).
What I’m saying is that it’s not an either-or situation.
Work hard but also do what you love. Play more. Dance your heart out in the midst of everything that’s spinning around you because it’s the only way you’ll find the balance you seek.
Remembering that play is not about forgoing responsibilities. It may mean getting up earlier on a Saturday morning to get your work done – even when you really don’t want to – so you can fit in time for play later that day.
Or go to a kick ass ColdPLAY concert that night!!
With fierce love,