Opinions and Individuality

It’s rather bothersome to me that there are older people who believe that, because younger people are simply younger, or that because younger people have differing opinions from elders at times, that their thoughts are invalid. And that elders thoughts and opinions are valid because of all of the years of experience they have under their belt, which, of course, can not be argued by younger folks. 

The fact of the matter is, that a twenty-year-old’s thoughts and opinions are just as real and valid as those of a sixty-year-old. People develop their opinions through their life experiences, so they can change, but when you doubt someones look on life or opinion of the world, you doubt their life experience and it can often be taken personally. 

Nowadays, people don’t have very good arguing skills. An argument shouldn’t be that of something vicious. It shouldn’t be a conversation of put downs. When it comes to opinions and controversial subjects such as politics and religion, it is polite to talk up your side and ask questions about the opposing side. Not put down the other side into silence. 

To say that a young person doesn’t have as much life experience as an older person is likely true. However, this doesn’t mean that a young person has no valuable life experience at all. I have been told many times that I have more experience under my belt than your average teenager and that, that made me mature faster. Being an anxious shit has taught me a lot about life and the world and I don’t consider myself an oblivious person despite how long it may take for me to understand your average joke. I can acknowledge that the world isn’t the prettiest place in the world. Being exposed to my own anxiety, bouts of depression, incompetent doctors and teachers, inspiring doctors, teachers, and peers, has taught me a lot and I get genuinely offended when people pull the whole “life experience” card. I have some. Not decades worth of life experience, but I have a lot for someone my age. You’d be surprised about some other young folks, too. 

And just because a younger person doesn’t hold maybe as much life experience as an older person, does not mean that they do not hold new information or wisdom within themselves that the older person might not have. We can learn from people of all different ages, shapes, and sizes. School teachers can learn a lot from their students (my teacher reminded us that he’s a student, just like us), so why can’t adults learn from younger adults? Is it really a preposterous idea? 

Just because a younger person feels differently on a topic from an older person does not mean that their opinion is “underdeveloped” or whatever term a person might use in an attempt to understand that people are different. People’s opinions and thoughts do change throughout their life as life experience shapes them, but this does not mean that a young democrat will blossom into the republican they were always destined to be in a couple of decades. Some people just think differently on certain topics. It does not mean they “don’t understand”, it simply means they feel differently. 

I wish young people weren’t put down so much. 

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Public School Isn’t Working

The public school system frustrates me beyond belief, especially how the academics are geared towards high school students. 

You see, it’s very important to know that public school does not work for everyone. In fact, it doesn’t work for a lot of people. And there is nothing wrong with the individuals whom public school does not work for. It simply doesn’t work. You accept the fact and move on. 

It’s understandable why public school doesn’t work for so many people. Hundreds of kids are shoved into one building for six-and-a-half hours a day (give or take a little) where informations is rammed into their impressionable minds. But not all of the information is “In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue”, no. Children are told religiously about how they need to get good grades, how they need to do extracurriculars, how they need to volunteer, how they need to go to college, and how it’s healthy and necessary to still maintain a social life. 

And when these children experience mental breakdowns from the extreme amount of stress, sympathy is rarely shown. 

Children are not taught how to think as much as they are taught what to think. The difference is extreme and bothersome. The importance of learning how to think for yourself is great. We do not want to raise our youth to be a bunch of band-wagoners. Diversity is what makes our society a great place (even though people hate other groups of people for their particular ways of thinking, it all ends up working in the end. Call me a hippy, I don’t care). Thinking outside the box in the past has gifted our world with wonderful inventions, books, art, and philosophy. If everyone is taught to think a certain way, growth in our society is limited. 

Teachers are less focused on helping children figure out their learning styles (to help them improve in the classroom) and are more focused on disciplining children on doing poorly
…Which is when you start questioning why an individual should excel at every subject when each subject is taught by a different teacher. 

I believe there is a healthy, happy-medium between allowing kids to do whatever they want, and challenging them so much in the classroom that they develop depression and anxiety disorders. I definitely believe that our public school system is the blame for a lot of mental illness in children. Not all, but for a lot

Learning is taught as a chore in public school systems. Personally speaking, it was very difficult to enjoy any reading for a very long time, because of assigned reading books in class. My reading comprehension has always been ridiculously high and I honestly never knew why because I only read when I absolutely had to and I have always read at a slower pace than most. Despite my slow and reluctant reading, in sixth grade I was reading around a college level. It has taken me about seven years of being out of school to recognize the fun in reading, and to do it for leisure. That feels a bit ridiculous. 

Another way public school teaches kids that learning is a chore is by assigning copious amounts of homework. As if each individual teacher thinks that their class is the only class you attend. As if teachers are completely oblivious to any volunteering or extracurriculars a student might be involved in (that is sometimes necessary to partake in). As if teachers don’t remember what it’s like to be young and to have friends. On top of the stress that homework causes on students, there is no real, good proof that homework improves learning upon a student. 

This is coming from a student who isn’t assigned hardly any homework. 

Homework is simply busywork. I truly believe that if the teacher does their job of teaching, the majority of students will grasp what they need to grasp in class time, or will be able to do their homework during study halls, instead of staying up all hours of the night trying to just-get-by. 

I very passionately believe that drastic changes need to happen in public school systems. I wish I knew what I could do. All of this criticism is also ignoring the social aspects of school, mind you. 

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Happiness

To be quite honest, I am rather upset. It is nearly two in the morning and I was just woken up in my sleep by an anxiety attack after only an hour if being in my peaceful slumber that happens to be my only escape from my anxiety.

Wee.

I guess what I’m trying to say is “I’m anxious, grumpy, and tired and if this post seems particularly sleepy and lazy it’s because I am”.

I have been thinking a little bit about this whole “happiness” thing. How you obtain it and all if that jazz. In my class the other day, we had to evaluate a quote that went somewhere along the lines of, “you do not have to be rich and famous to be happy, only rich.” After discussing the quote with a few people I still can’t help but disagree, but my sleepiness has helped me find insight.

There’s a lot of people out there who say “money doesn’t buy happiness” and I almost wonder if it’s a poor mans reassurance. I’m sure there are wealthier people who are both happy and unhappy, so you would have to assume that their income has no part in the equation.

I mentioned earlier that traveling will probably not make people happy, and that happiness is a destination you have to create within yourself. Which is kind of a depressing thought for all of the blokes out there who are quite unhappy, such as myself. But traveling does make some people happy. So why can’t money make some people happy? And exactly how selfish is that?

Other than the obvious, money can buy reassurance which is a fabulous trait to have. If you’re Gatsby rich, you really don’t have to worry about financial burdens. You live were you want to live, you drive what you want to drive, you have what you have, you can provide for your loved ones as much as you want and everything seems pretty damn well off.

Maybe the reassurance factor is enough for some people to find happiness. Financial burdens do causes lot of stress and unhappiness, and maybe by eliminating that stress and happiness, people can find a joy within.

When people go on trips, maybe the destinations don’t show them happiness, But the revelations they have during the journey make them find happiness. Trips can be quite insightful.

And if money can help a certain individual achieve happiness, is that really selfish? When do you draw the line from “treating yourself” (which everyone should do) and “being selfish”?

So many questions.

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Eventful Weekend

This weekend has truly been a roller coaster. 

I went down to my boyfriend’s house on Thursday (which is a day early than normal). 

We had plans to go see the new Captain America movie and to go bowling with a bunch of his friends in his town. They’re mutual friends, kind of. I haven’t hung out with them enough to be BFF’s with them yet, but they are certainly fun people that I like to be around and am familiar with. 

My boyfriend’s mom drove us to the theatre. 

So we went and saw the Captain America movie in a nearby city at 6:40 in the evening. It was really fun. There ended up being ten of us, so we took up a whole row in the relatively small theatre. I had an anxiety attack through intense scenes in the movies (Erin, it’s a friggin’ action adventure movie, what were you thinking?!), but it was enjoyable! I don’t get out like that hardly often at all and it felt really good. I felt like a grown up. 

A mutual friend drove my boyfriend and me from the theatre to the bowling alley, which was around nine. 

We went to a bowling alley in another nearby city. They had “glow bowling” which was kind of neat. I chose to wear a skirt that day partly because I wanted to look good and I also thought it would improve mobility with bowling but it didn’t feel like it made any difference. It was my first time big ball bowling, too. I got a strike on my first try which was really surprising, and I ended up beating everyone. Not like that’s what matters, but I was quite impressed with myself. Brag, brag, brag. We got food at the bowling alley and hung around there for a while. Sitting amongst the drunks, and playing arcade games when we were done with our strings. 

I have discovered that Dance, Dance Revolution requires a lot of finesse that I do not have. 

We ended up leaving the bowling alley close to midnight. To be clear, we were not doing anything mischievous. A time of day does not dictate ones morals and values. We were simply a bunch of high schoolers out having a good time. When we went out to the car, the weather wasn’t how it was when we got to the bowling alley, though. It was freezing rain and we were half an hour away from home. 

The same mutual friend drove us. 

She had never driven us home before and was very unfamiliar with the area as she was trying tog et us home. She from another nearby town, I guess. I felt fine with her driving, and since she had only a two-door vehicle, and I was wearing a skirt, I sat up front with her and my boyfriend sat in the back. Which, actually works out, because I have no idea how to move the chairs out of the way to get in and out from the backseat on my own. 

We were driving on rural roads, getting home when we approached an S turn down a (steep) hill that leads to a bridge over a lake. Our friend was gaining speed when my boyfriend suggested she slowed down. But it was a little too late. The roads were slippery. We approached the S turn and lost control a bit. It was a far wider turn than it was supposed to be. I thought that the wide turn would be corrected but we slammed into a guard rail to the right of us. 

I thought everything was going to be okay when I saw the guard rail coming toward us. I thought we would be able to back up and just go home and laugh about it later. But the guard rail pushed us to the left with force. We glided to the other side of the road, rolled over a snowbank, and down the embankment. We rolled. I covered my head with both of my arms and the driver screamed. Thankfully we stopped so the car was standing upright, and only the headlights were in the lake water. 

I couldn’t open my door at first but I got it, climbed out, and everyone followed. 

I am incredibly thankful that everyone walked out with cuts and bruises. The windows had shattered, there was glass in my hair and in my hand, we were not far away from being submerged in the water. I can’t help but be very thankful that my boyfriend, my friend, and I am alive. 

It’s incredible to think that if we had rolled just once more our lives could be changed drastically. 

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The Great Gatsby

*SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT*

Last week I watched the Leonardo DiCaprio version of The Great Gatsby. I was genuinely surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the movie. I have not read the book cover to cover but I did read a good fifteen pages and in those fifteen pages I was completely and totally confused.
But the movie did not leave me lost. Everything made sense. Minus Nicks relationship with Daisy, of course. It seemed weirdly romantic to me. That’s beside the point.
I felt like, in ways, I could identify with Gatsby and Nick. I’m not a hugely successful Prohibitionist living in a mansion, experiencing a seemingly magnificent and well lived life. I am not an ex employee on Wall Street who is now institutionalized in a mental hospital, either.
To put things in perspective, imagine the world as it is, except there is no one on earth but you. Nothing freaky or apocalyptic is happening. Just you.

That’s how I feel.

As far as Nick, he said a few times how he felt “both within and without”. After analyzing those words a bit I felt as though I could relate. I feel “on the outside, looking in” a fair amount. Most likely due to my lack of schooling and severe anxiety. I see people who go to school, socialize with ease, and have common interests with other people. It doesn’t take much to make me feel like a single giraffe in a pack of hyenas. But, I do hang out with people (on the rare occasion) where I joke with my peers and have a good time. I enjoy myself and feel “within” or a part of something, but it’s nothing I experience often enough to actually be a part of something. It is not in my lifestyle as of now, so even though I may feel “within” I am still “without”. Whether this was the authors intended meaning, I do not know.
My anxious brain has been trying to convert bad obsessing with positive analyzing. This is the product.

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I Don’t Know

I recall watching a sitcom a while back. I can’t remember the shows name, but the lead female role said something along the lines of, “How am I supposed to know?! I’m a teenage girl!” Of course, the audience laughed. I laughed at the time I watched it. I was prepubescent and more oblivious of the world than I am now. 

But, seriously. Teenage girls aren’t the only people who don’t know what they want. I mean, I can’t say that because I’m not a teenage girl and I don’t know what I want…because I am a teenage girl and I don’t know what I want. It has just come to my attention that I am not the only one in that boat. In fact, there are adults in the boat with me. 

A life boat, if you will. 

Ha. Haha. 

I am finding that what I have read in text books really means nothing. At least, I feel that way towards school on March 25, 2014 at 11:16 PM. My opinion changes very quickly.

I think kids need to learn about themselves, who they are, what they want, and all of that jazz. I guess you are supposed to learn these things in school, through socializing and clubs and whatnot, but not everyone gets that opportunity. It is important to know who you are and what you want because you cannot choose a career without knowing those things. I think that’s a flaw within the public school system. We are taught information, and are thrusted into a sudden “Now, pick”. 

I think I can safely say that a majority of my peers don’t know what they want, even if they claim they do. Even if they are going into college with a declared major I believe they are feeling a sense of doubt and anxiety. A couple weeks ago I was forced into selling baked goods at a school function with a girl I had never met before. Since we were both seniors (apparently) the question was tossed around. “What do you want to do?” My safe answer is writing, mostly because that’s normally the first thing that pops into mind. It’s the only thing I do in my spare time that’s really intellectually stimulating. Sure. When I asked the girl the same question, she proudly told me (with a smile!) where she was going, and that she was going for culinary arts or something of that variety. Which made sense since we were selling whoopie pies and cookies. 

So confident. 

I would still like to believe she is afraid because of how afraid I am. 

I can’t even walk into Subway without feeling anxious. There are too many decisions and I feel as though I have to give the sandwich maker my decision quickly. 

“Sauce?” (The people at Subway are always so friendly and are full of charisma) 

“RANCH”

Moments later I will realize I had already asked for mayonnaise and mustard with my ranch. Do you see my problem? I don’t know what I want. 

Sometimes I think it’d just be better if I took a year off before college to do some soul searching. Travel, be a nomad, find myself, and what I want. Then I think of the stigmas associated with people who take a year off. The things I’ve heard. 

What do I want. 

 

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Torn

I keep teetering back and forth on certain ideas and it’s kind of making me feel like a crazy. I can’t decide what the truth is and it’s driving me insane.

Sometimes I think “I matter in this world! The Earth has a delicate system in which all factors are vital!” It’s kind of true. Everything is interconnected, whether you realize it or not. You exist within other people, and other people exist within you. You are made up of the people you’ve come across, the things you have seen, the things you have heard, the things you have felt. You are made up of the things you have been exposed to. Assuming you, the reader, aren’t a hermit, you have touched another life who has touched another life and so on.

But what does it matter? I am a single person of seven billion. I will not be remembered most likely. I will be another victim of oblivion. In Carl Sagan’s Cosmic Calendar, the human life span amounts to hardly any time at all.

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” – David Mitchell

Then I think about all of my peers, fearful of choosing a career that they feel they are strapped to for their last 70 years of life. Why must we choose a future when we have no control over what tomorrow’s events will be? I can plan to go to school to be a doctor all I want, but I have little control in the events that will take place during those eight years of school. I could encounter a financial crisis and be forced to drop out. I could discover that the whole “medicine” thing really isn’t me. Why don’t we just pay attention to now? We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

But I need to choose a career. I need to earn money. I want a family and a husband and a house sometime in the future and preferably before I’m forty. The “now” can be so depressing at times.

“Forever is composed of nows” – Emily Dickinson

And then I think about how I would like to be happy. Yes, I would like to feel like I belong, to feel happy, and to feel free. Surely a change in environment will cure me of those desires, right? Maybe San Francisco, or the Florida Keys, maybe even somewhere foreign like Paris or Rome. Or somewhere where the language is still familiar, like London. God, wouldn’t that be nice. Feeling happy and free and a part of something.

But Im not sure that happiness and freedom and feeling a sense of belonging aren’t destinations I can find on a map. I’m afraid they are places I have to construct within myself. And I am not an architect.

Then I think “Dammit Erin, you are one intellect”, mostly because I have such tedious thoughts streaming through my brain.

But there are times when I think of how stupid I am. For allowing my feelings to get the better of me. For not maintaining my place in advanced classes. For saying the stupid things I say, for doing the stupid things I do, and for making the dumbest jokes anyone has probably ever heard of.

Life is too difficult.

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