By Riley Robertson
In our world there are over 7 billion people, 6500 languages, 196 countries, hundreds of cultures, and thousands of things to experience. As high school students we have probably only ever lived in one or two or maybe more areas. But most kids our age have only left the country once, if at all. Some, of course, have experienced much more than others. And I consider those are the lucky ones.
Personally, I have lived in the same house, in the same neighborhood, with the same friends, for 16 years. This place is all I’ve ever known. I’m not complaining; I love where I’ve grown up and I wouldn’t trade my friends, family, or experiences for anything. But it is easy, after living in the same place surrounded by the same influences, to get bored and crave something more. Suddenly all you want to do is get out. Travel the world. Be on your own. You are suddenly filled with wanderlust and adventure. You don’t want to be stuck in the same high school situations and the same family life. Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way out. So I have a suggestion.
Find your passion.
Yes, one day you will be able to graduate and start your own life, doing whatever you please wherever you please and whenever you please– but not yet. There is so much in life to be passionate about. Yes, you might be thinking, “But my passion is far away places with extreme adventures and different cultures.” Or, “But all I want is to go to college and move out and start my career and begin my life.” You can definitely be passionate about those things, but that is not going to fill your life with meaning at this moment in time. You need to find what does.
I am passionate about life. Honestly. I love that we all live such unique lives in unique situations. I have such an interest in the many ways to live. My brothers and I have grown up in the same household with the same rules, for example, and yet we live very different lives. And this is only the beginning, since in years to come we will be in completely different places.
(That’s cool, but that doesn’t help us yet, right?)
You need to find something everyday to just adore and utterly look forward to. I have found that I just love people in general. I love talking to people and helping them and doing everything in my power to make them feel like they deserve what they want. I found a passion for dance years ago and without it I would not be half the person I am today. It brought me something to do with my day, something to improve on, and incredible people to rub shoulders with. Sometimes I want to quit or I don’t want to dance or I think everyone is being annoying, but that comes with life. You have to have bad days to have good days.
I also found a passion for school. (Stay with me, I know it is hard to believe.) As a senior, I am taking more classes that I’m interested in and less that I’m not. I have fallen in love with physics and biology and anatomy. I love learning about the rules that govern our universe; how our world and bodies function. And those are just the start of things I’m interested in.
Maybe your passion can be reading or writing or student council or service or sculpting or instruments or sports or painting. You do not have to make it into a profession or try to be the “best painter” at Westlake. Find what you love. Find your interests. Find people you love and stick with them. Stick with those people. There is so much to experience in the world, yes, but there is also so much to experience in your life right this very minute. You have untapped knowledge and potential and talent. Don’t follow the crowd if you don’t want to.
It’s okay to do you. *dabs*