The Best Days of our Lives

I've just come back from the JACT Latin Summer School at Wells - 10 days of intensive Latin and letting my inner geek run free. To anyone as geeky as I am, I highly suggest you go: it's hard work, but fun, and you'll find people from all walks of life yet who still understand you. Of course, if you're not geeky, disregard the don't know what you're missing, though. Seriously, you don't.

I have piccies of the two badges I bought as well:
That first one says "I am a Roman king and above grammar" - something which makes me laugh, both because of how one can ever presume to be above grammar and because I'm actually a stickler for it in real life.

Meaning "I shall not altogether die", this is one of my favourite quotes.

I didn't come here, though, to talk about the wonders of Latin camp...I came to post up something which I wrote while there: I haven't edited it, so it might be unpolished - I know that there's at least one tense error, which I've left uncorrected because I don't want to pretty up my post and thus perhaps change the meaning, even if only a little bit. The post itself only makes sense if you remember that I got my parents to drive me, so be forewarned.

"Summer of '69" came on the radio (yes, it was stuck on Magic, no, I don't know how I managed to get through a WHOLE JOURNEY with Magic on the radio). It's a good song, but those weren't the best days of our lives - not at all.

I can understand why, to someone middle-aged and trapped in a soulless job, high school seemed like the time of your life. You were young and good-looking and the world lay before you. You were just tasting freedom, sheltered from the hardships and duties of adulthood. And you had no idea how badly you could screw up a life.

Well, here's a newsflash: the teenage years are some of the worst. You will either be bullied or shoulder tremendous pressure to avoid being bullied. You will think about suicide - maybe curiously, maybe seriously - but no matter how many problems you have, everyone will assume you're doing it to get attention. You will constantly wonder if you're normal, or if you're even worthy of living, and those questions will eat you up inside. And let's not forget the relationship game.

No, I'm not bitter.

One more thing. Ultimately, teenage life is a game. You have no responsibilities, that's true, but neither do you have any rights. You're in an artificial environment with few real goals or purposes, and you don't even know who you are yet. That's less like your glory days and more like you're trapped in some sick, sick simulacrum of society.

No, I'm not going to say that bullying, suicide, shallowness and all of the million petty things which make up teenage life don't exist in the adult world. I'm not going to say that life gets any easier, and I'm not going to say that all of your problems magically disappear. But as an adult, you have one thing which you couldn't have dreamt of as a teen, and that's freedom.

Everyone is now going to object that adults have to pay taxes, keep within the law, etc. They're forgetting that freedom also includes the freedom to screw up. You can refuse to pay your taxes if you don't mind going to court, and you can flout the law if you're not too fussed about punishment. To be honest, all of life is just one big social contract which you can break, if you so choose.

I'm not saying that screwing up or breaking that contract are good things. I've seen too many good people fuck up their lives to ever want to follow in their footsteps, and the latter is...well...just too much hard work. But knowing you have the freedom to do that is profoundly liberating - actually, knowing you have the freedom to do anything is profoundly liberating. Your life's not decided for you. If you have the talent and discipline to do something, then, why - you can do that. No stars or tea leaves rule against it.

I'm not saying holding down a job and feeding yourself is easy - not in the slightest. I don't expect that my life will be a bed of roses when I turn 18. But I'll have my freedom, dammit; I'll be able to do the things that I enjoy most and work towards a goal I love. And to me, those will be the best days of my life. They're why I haven't given up yet - at least, not until I've left school. [sic - eeek!]

Maybe some older and wiser heads would say that that's all well and good for a young spark like me, but that they can't change. I say that those older and wiser heads are spouting bullshit. It's not easy changing your life in the middle of its course, but it can be done - and if it makes you happy, then do it. Life's worth nothing unless you do what you want with it. And doing what you want - those are the best days of our lives.