Sunday, March 13, 2011

a declaration of trekking my path while honouring yours

The contrast between the selection playing on my television tonight and last night is so stark it's comical. Granted, one was picked by my sister and the other my mom but still, Sex and the City one night and the David Suzuki movie the next? Crazy stuff.

I half watched Carrie Bradshaw and her cohorts and half read one night but I fully tuned in on the next for Force of Nature, a documentary that, well, documents Dr. Suzuki's life and legacy. And I know I've said this before but no matter: David Suzuki is brilliant.

To me, it's so absurd that people can continue chasing the paper dream of a prestigious career and lots of money to buy a huge apartment with a ridiculously large closest in which to put more shoes than any one person has ever or will ever need. When I look at that image, it's so abundantly obvious that there is nothing meaningful or fulfilling about it. I mean, to see the joy these women get from seeing a handbag, simply because it has five highly considered letters on it is mind boggling.

And it's easy, too easy, for me to look down on that and adopt an air of superiority. I don't buy into that consumer culture so I'm better. But honestly, it's not even like that. I'm just so dumbfounded and perplexed that we have somehow been convinced that the way to happiness is not through connection and family and self-fulfillment but through shopping and simulating perfection in every aspect of your life.

And speaking of simulating perfection and me being unconventional, I feel like I have an announcement to make. Drumroll. Heavy silence. Okay.

I'm not intending to graduate high school.

*Sigh* That was intense. Yeahbutso I didn't make this decision because I am lazy (though I sometimes am), ambition-less (meh, debatable) and stupid (which is not to say I don't feel stupid sometimes). I could very well complete the requirements and receive my Dogwood Certificate.* Heck, I wrote a novel in a month, not once but twice. I can do anything.

The point is, I've decided it's not for me. I've decided to defy the myth of high school Drop Outs** going on to nothing greater than a career at McDonald's. I've decided that I don't need a piece of paper to tell me I'm capable of doing what I'm told. I've decided to dare bigger and fail better.

And now I sound like I'm pissing on everyone else's high school parade. Excellent.

What I'm trying to get across is that I am a weird person. I do weird things and think weird thoughts and I am different. Yet I am doing my best to be the different person I am without condemning you for being who you are. I am trying--at times exceedingly hard--to not judge, and not look down on, and basically just honour your path while at the same time confirming that it's not for me.

The other thing I'm trying to say is that, sometimesusually, the act of honouring other people's choices and paths is really hard. I'm still trying.

p.s. To clarify this whole high school thing, it's not a sudden choice or even a solid affirmation. It's been a long time coming, I've thought about it all and ultimately decided that I don't need to meet all the course requirements of a high school diploma. Which is not to say that I've dropped all my courses. I'm still doing the courses I am passionate about. The main part of this is the fact that graduating is no longer something I'm working towards. It's not a milestone for me anymore, a necessary checkpoint on the road of my life. It's just there and maybe I'll get to it but it's not my purpose and it's not going to stop me from continuing on with my life. We good?

*British Columbian for 'you checked the right boxes and passed the right tests. You may now be functional. Oh no wait, go to university, then we'll talk.'
**I guess I'm not a true drop out as you can't drop out of something you never dropped into. Can you?


Rena said...

If anyone could defy that myth, my money's on you. :) From an anthropological (or whatever) standpoint, it'll be interesting to see how your serious adulthood life differs from, say, mine. Power to you. It's not like anyone ever died from not graduating high school. (Except for kids in the ghetto who instead of attending school got killed in a gang war etc etc...hypothetically you could get killed in a gang war, but Canada seems too nice for that. ;))

PS: Required courses are indeed pretty much crap.

Vita said...

Actually I think that's really awesome and I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns or whatever that expression is.
I sort of wish I could do the same but I feel that for me it really WOULD just be dropping out (since I've actually been going to school since I was 5 and quitting now would just a bad plan.)
Hah, I want to be like "tell me what your life is like in the future!" except hopefully we'll still be in touch so I guess I'll see for myself, but... exciting! We'll all be legal adults soonish (it's 18 in Canada, right?) and I'll be graduating next year and Rena will be graduating the year after that and you'll be off adventuring somewhere and I'm pretty excited for it! Let's make a deal to not waste our lives on something we don't care about okay. :)

Alex said...

Thanks for that. I feel like it's a credit to our relationship that neither of you seemed surprised. You guys should now that your completely assured reaction is not normal. How ridiculous are you guys for believing that I can function as a human in this society without finishing high school? Just saying, you guys are weird. :)

Vita: the whole "adult" thing is kind of an iffy matter. I think technically you're an adult at 18 (you don't, like, belong to your parents anymore) but the only thing that entitles you to is a vote (in elections and such). Other than that, you can't drink, you can't have your own credit card, you can't sign a lease, etc.

So, while voting is cool, the whole turning 18 thing is very anticlimactic.