Ages ago I wrote a post asking what is a perfect life? It seems a lot of people are seeking the answer to that question because it’s the number one search term used to find my blog, just above “how do you make smores”. I often think how disappointed the searchers must be to discover a middle-aged woman arguing with her teens, wondering what the hell she is doing with her life and lurching between bedlam and chaos on a daily basis. Sorry searchers, I was just pondering aloud what the answer to that question might be, I didn’t HAVE the answer.
Last night I found myself again wondering as I sat in a vast school hall, with a hundred or so 16 year-olds and their parents, listening to their school attempt to prepare them for the future.
Working hard was mentioned, as was “decisions now will impact later in life”. We were given a list of subject choices for Year 11 and the standard you need to achieve by end of semester this year to be able to take them. I felt overwhelmingly tired. Hippie Child looked bored.
What the hell do you choose? My first instinct is choose subjects you enjoy, you’ve got a better chance of doing well, and the end of the day you just need a decent mark. Then again maybe you don’t need a decent mark, plenty of people do well in life without an ATAR or a university degree. Hell, some of our most successful people are school drop-outs! Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, Colonel Sanders (chicken, that’s where the money is people), Charles Dickens, Elton John, all ditched the books. Apparently Princess Di left school at 16 as well, but I don’t think we can rely on marrying a prince for our career goal.
I’ve done some preliminary research and have figured out a couple of career paths for the child. Natural History Art Illustrator sounds fascinating or anything to do with music (we’ll have to get over that terror at performing in public and the fact we DIDN’T select music as an elective for years 9 & 10 is probably an issue but as I keep saying ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE).
Last night in a casual conversation with a friend I also figured out a career for the boy we are not calling Hippie Child’s boyfriend. He likes art and computers. My friend’s daughter is doing an internship with Dreamworks for her animation studies. She spent two months last year in Paris at the international specialist uni for animation. How cool is that?
So I’m on track with the planning, shame I’m not sure I’ve got the kids on board.
What do you advise your kids about the future? At the end of the day I just want them to do something they love and be happy. I want their perfect life to be an enjoyable mix of work, family, hobbies, experiences. I want them to have enough education to be able to analyse and create for themselves, I want them to have enough money to have choices, free of worries, I want them to feel passionate (most of the time) about the work they do. I’m just not sure how they get to that point.
Right now, bogged down in expectations and choices, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and am too scared to even ask how the Hippie Child is feeling.