For the Thrill of It

One of the most used quotes by high schoolers in their fairly dramatic state is that life is a roller coaster with its constant ups, downs and dizzying loop-the-loops. A high schooler I was, with my huge black frames and acne-filled cheeks, but I didn’t feel like I was on a thrill-filled adult roller coaster. My teenage years reminded me of that kids’ roller coaster in this theme park back home — fun and reasonably fast, yet it gave me the, “What? That’s it?” feeling at the end. As part of my daily routine, I would scroll through my Facebook timeline, and pictures of their new boyfriends or of the most exciting times at parties and beaches would pop right before my eyes, as if to tell me, “This is what you’re not having.” As much as I like staying in bed in my laziest state, a book in hand or my laptop turned sideways to fit my field of vision, I can’t help but feel jealous. I used to complain to my mom about how my life isn’t going anywhere, and she used to tell me that I’m still young so there’s no use in rushing. “Okay mom,” I thought. I tried arguing with her once, but I lost (of course, obviously, duh) and that loss was just the eye opener and confidence booster that I needed for the next seventy two hours or so before I felt severely insecure and conscious again.

I used to read about teenagers having the time of their lives at their romantic proms with their oh-so-handsome prom dates, or them having the best summer or school year of their lives or whatever. I would also see these things on films and hear about them from my friends and friends of a friend’s friend, but nothing remotely close happened to me. I know it sounds like your typical coming-of-age problem, but it came to a point where I asked myself if there’s something wrong with me. Fast forward to me moving down to Australia where I, once again, expected a life-changing and super-fun time. I got into a good university, met some kick-ass friends, but there were, at the time, heavy downs that I didn’t think was shown in those movies that I saw (see: three mean bosses and the struggles of paying for the train and bus fares among other things). It still felt like I was missing something, and whatever it was, I didn’t like the feeling of not having it.

During these battles with my mind, I would remind myself two of the most important advice that stuck with me. The first one (from my mom) tells me that everything is only on the mind. I used to heavily oppose to this idea because I thought that it’s one of those things that you can’t fight off. The truth is, you can fight it off as long as you learn how to control your own mind. “Kinda Buddhist,” as a friend once called it. This one helps with my insecurities. The second one (from another friend) tells me that what matters is that you work hard. This helps me with expectations; it reminds me that it’s better to go into war without any expectations, and it’s best to just work hard enough to know what you deserve. With these two things in mind, and with the help of other pieces of advice gathered from the my friends’ replies to my never-ending pathetic rants, I get reminded that it may not be my “time to shine” yet and I may not have had the best, teenage rom-com worthy or inspiring story, but that shouldn’t stop me from riding every roller coaster on Earth for the thrill of it.

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