Take It Easy
I’ll be seventeen in two weeks, and as of right now, I have absolutely no motivation to attend college. Yes, I’m on the honor roll. Yes, I have above a 3.0 GPA, and I’m in several AP courses. No, I’ve never failed a class or gotten in trouble with the law; I’m not enrolled at an alternative high school. I’m not worried about the student loans I’d have to pay off, or moving away from my mommy. I simply do not think that I’m ready for college yet. Everyone, and I mean everyone from my ex-boyfriend to my guidance counselor tells me that taking a year off from school is wrong. I’ll be setting myself up for failure, they tell me. Making money, living on my own, having a taste of freedom will be “intoxicating and disabling” I’m scolded.
I believe in sitting back and taking it easy. No, really, I do. I know this may sound more like blasphemy then belief in our fast paced I-need-to-have-a-plan-right-now world, but I know that there is something to be said for laying back, going at your own pace, and not giving a damn about what you are supposed to do.
Why is it thought of as lazy to take a year off and relax after twelve consecutive years of schooling? Because in this time, in this culture, all we want to do is get ahead. “Make more money, get bigger promotions, take more vacations!” we’re coached from early on. Success, we’re taught, is in forms of money and wealth; we are so focused on what we want to have that we neglect to see what is right in front of us, right now. I’m not one of those hopeful future-CEO types; I know that right now is all we have.
This past weekend was my junior year winter formal. While my friends were stressing about hair-dos and wardrobe malfunctions, I was with two of my good friends in a small sports car, music pumping and Red Bulls in great abundance, driving to absolutely nowhere until 2 am. Honestly, we were going nowhere, both in the actual and figurative terms. We ended up in a small northern town with nothing but a McDonalds and gas station. We picked up some more Red Bull and a pack of gum, and we turned around. We wasted an entire tank of gas on that cold Saturday night, doing nothing but seeing where uncharted back roads could take us.
“What a complete waste of time, and gas!” muttered my mother, laboring in kitchen over a brunch for 12 the next morning. “Oh, to be young again!” sighed her best friend, eyes watering from the onions she was designated to chop. But hearing her say that phrase: “Oh, to be young again!” hit a chord with me. I’m terrified that these little indulgences will disappear as I grow older, have a mortgage and car payment, kids and a minivan. I don’t want to become another American workaholic with a master’s degree and once-a-week housecleaner. I really don’t care if I end up working forever as a waitress or a store clerk; I just want to wake up every morning feeling the same way I felt on Saturday night: like everything will be okay, that I will be okay.
I know that with age comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes maturity. Its not responsibility or maturity I’m running from, it’s the imposed thought that these things will take over and leave all the little things that make me who I am in the wake. I’m not a lazy, headstrong, ungrateful underachiever; I’m just a girl who thinks that maybe, just maybe, there’s something more out there than what I’ve been taught is success. I think the band Foghat might have said it best with “Slow ride/Take it easy/ Slow down”. And taking it easy, slowing down is exactly what I plan to do.
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