I’m not exactly sure how many 21 year olds can honestly say this, but I have started contemplating what I want written on my tombstone. At this point i have no idea what i want, but i know i want it to be cleverer than what I wrote in the senior yearbook, “I am a fish.”
In no way do i regret writing that, i still to this day think it’s brilliant and captured very accurately my frame of mind at the time. Looking back on it now, coming up with outlandish and somewhat genius quotes was probably my strongest suit in high school. Another favourite of mine, “Hooray for the watermelon factory,” captured the very fundamentalist essence of high school. Actually i’m just talking shit now, i just thought it was some cold blooded shit to say before i popped a cap in some fools ass. Again complete bullshit. What can I say? I’m a sucker for cultural references.
Anyway getting to my actual point. I’ve only just recently realised why i stress out about everything so much. Expectations. I realised that from a very young age we have these expectations thrown upon us. The first one is surviving the trials and tribulations of the womb, our parents (or in my case Parent. In case you didn’t know, I was immaculately conceived, like Jesus and Anakin Skywalker*) have such high expectations that A – we are going to live and B – we are going to grow up to be a nice respectable human being. Of course there is also the expectation that you wont be a mutant.
Throughout our childhood there are numerous expectations, mostly from our parents (or parent). At around six months we are expected to be able to crawl, at a year we are supposed to be able to walk and not only walk but run. He could be an athlete.
When you start Pre School (or Kindy or Prep or wherever the hell you start these days) you are expected to be able to tell the difference between green and blue, between happy and sad, between Sandwiches and Sand. In Primary school we are expected to be able to read and write. In High School we are expected to get good grades, make lots of friends, have a an attractive girlfriend, have sex, drink alcohol, do drugs, rebel against authority figures, die your hair, fall in love and then get depressed. It’s the classic High School scenario. Vintage OC.
I think a lot of teenagers buckle to the pressure and just give up. Any form of emotion that in some way resembles enthusiasm is thrown out the window.
And now, after leaving the small town for the big city, have my expectations been fulfilled? Of course not! There’s more than ever now. Expectations to have something published in some newspaper, The Australian, The New Yorker. To write a novel, to get it published, to become rich and famous. And that’s about where it ends, because by the time i have fulfilled all these expectations, i’ll be an old man in a wheelchair contemplating what my life would have been like if i had done things differently. Not buckled the the expectations that myself and others placed upon me. Etcetera etcetera. But that would also be a load of shit because expectations are apart of day to day life.
Even in writing this article i feel like it’s not as good as it could be, what will people think of it? Of me? Will they laugh? Will they understand what i am going on about? Will they love me forever or will they stop reading my blog altogether?
Yet more expectations i have set for myself. I guess it’s learning to except them and embrace or ignore them as they come which is what makes us truly successful at life. A life full of regrets is epic fail (you can quote me on that). So that’s why I’m getting started on my tombstone early.
* I still want to use this in a movie or a story one day =]