Welcome to the Real World
Growing up, I’ve heard the same sayings over and over. There’s a lot of repetition in my life, I wake up at the same time every morning, I go to jump rope at 7:30 AM every Saturday, I follow a neat schedule every day at school. Don’t talk to strangers, do your chores, finish your homework. There are some aspects of life that simply don’t change much for a reason, it’s a constant, it will likely always be relevant. One saying I hear quite often is, “wait until you get to the real world”.
Living in La Cañada, I’m constantly reminded that we’re not living in “the real world”, but deep in my heart, I know that’s not true. I know that not everyone hears “we’ll she’s not that smart, her GPA is below 4.0 and her SAT didn’t hit 2000”, “the house next to me sold for 5.4 million the other week”, or “yeah, I crashed by BMW, but that’s okay, my parents are just going to buy me the newer one”. But that doesn’t mean La Cañada isn’t a real place full of real people with real feelings and experiences.
Honestly, I’ve never really thought about “wait until you get to the real world” too much until this year. I’ve always taken it as, “life just gets harder, stop complaining”! And that isn’t necessarily wrong, but now that I’m an 18-year old senior in high school about to graduate, I’m starting to realize that life probably won’t get too much harder. I know I’m young and naive, but life doesn’t get harder, we just start to focus on other things. Our lives change the older we get. It’s your mindset. I might not always live in a place where you’re not smart until you have a 4.0, but that’s okay. Everyone and everywhere is different. Just because I’ve grown up in a place that is better off financially, doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled before. The real world doesn’t start when you leave high school, when you can legally drink, or when you get a job. You have been in the real world your whole life.
When you’re a 13 year old girl in 7th grade, the biggest hurdle in your life is balancing your image and your academics. I spend a good majority of my middle school career worrying about how people perceived me and how much I weighed. Those were quite literally my two biggest concerns in life and just because I look back at it now and think that it was silly of me to care so much, doesn’t mean that my emotions when I was 13 were invalid. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to call 13 year old me stupid. I know I wasn’t stupid because that’s how I genuinely felt about life. Sure, those things aren’t important to me now, but they were important to me back then. I’m not going to purposely look back on my life and think to myself that everything that was important to me at the time shouldn’t have been, because if I allow myself to feel that way, I know that in 2 years I’ll think about how I shouldn’t have cared about Homecoming Court, Rose Court, college rejections, or hanging out with my friends as much as possible as frequently as possible before I move away in August.
My world is real and there was never a single moment when it wasn’t, just because I don’t do taxes doesn’t mean I can’t comprehend my life.