For the past few weeks i've been thinking - mostly about how content I am with my life and how lucky I've been feeling lately. I mean, how could I not be? I get paid for doing what I love, I live in a nice place (you know, despite my crazy neighbour), I'm surrounded by people - and animals - that I love and - more recently - I've seen more of the world than I ever thought a small-town girl like me, ever could. I travelled to Sweden with the guy that I love, experienced an entirely new culture, got the opportunity to shoot in some amazing places and - thanks to Zalando and Göteborg Tourism - barely paid a penny for it (check out my recent Gothenburg Photodiary to hear all about my new love for all things Swedish). Yeah, I'd say life is pretty great right now.
So when I think back to all those times that my teachers and parents told me that my school years were the 'best years of my life', I can't help but laugh, as well as feel maybe a little bit sad about the true meaning behind those few words. I mean, I'm no child-expert here, but shouldn't we be making young'uns excited about their future, not scaring them into thinking that - once they leave school - their lives are about to seriously go down hill?
Now I'll be completely honest with you guys - school for me sucked. It sucked hard. i was bullied, I hated rules (still do) and all in all I just wanted to stay at home and do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it (isn't that everyone's dream?!). I get it that some people had a blast at school, but - judging by the people i've spoken to in the past - those people are in more of the minority than anything else. Seriously though, how can five straight days of text books, soggy sandwiches and squeaky chalkboards be a part of the 'best years of my life'? I swear most of my positive memories of education revolved around school dinners. They just did mash potato so well, you know? Of course you know. How could anyone not love blended mash potato.
But despite the general lack of decent mash potato in my adult life, I think it's safe to say that pretty much everything else has only gotten better. They say kids have all the freedom in the world, but as far as I remember I had to ask permission to do just about anything up until the age of fifteen (when I became a rebellious devil child..sorry Mum and Dad). If I wanted to go out with my friends I had to make sure I was home at a certain time. If I wanted to see the latest Pokemon film (which obv I did) I had to 'borrow' a few quid off of my folks and ask them for a lift into town because - oddly enough - a ten year old isn't allowed to drive. Weird.
Now? Well now I have more freedom than ever as far as I'm concerned. Sure, there are bills to pay, and there are extra worries and stresses that I'd like to do without sometimes, but in my opinion the good things outweigh those woes without a shadow of a doubt. Around two years ago I quit my job on a whim to do, well, this! Could I have done the same back in Primary school? You know, just wake up one day, decide I want to be a professional Playstation player and never go to another maths class ever again. Hell, I couldn't even fake a sick day without teachers questioning me the next day. Sometimes a girl just wants to take a break from algebra and Pythagoras' theorem (which, by the way, I am still yet to use since leaving secondary school).
Now I have the ability to turn my life into whatever I want it to be. Of course there are more pressures in adult life, but that's what makes it interesting. If I didn't have bills to pay, I wouldn't need to work so hard at achieving my goals. I wouldn't enjoy the rare time off that I have, because my entire life would be just one big holiday. And hey, if I decide I want to change my 'dream' into something completely different, I have complete control of doing that too. I no longer have to rely on anyone for money, permission or stability, which means I get to fully enjoy the company and relationships with these people. I never have to ask anyone, to have them turn around and say no to me, and because of that I never hold any teenage grudges like I used to. It's all down to me. And if there was ever a word of encouragement it's that: you can do whatever the hell you want. Forget 'embracing the now'. Fuck the now! Enjoy every day you have but never settle for anything less than you deserve. And let's face it, you probably deserve a lot more than those maths classes and soggy sandwiches.