When I was a teenager (back in the halcyon days of sex and drugs and rock & roll – when those things were still fun and not necessarily deadly) life was simple.
School was a place we went to meet our friends, skip from and attend dances at. Our parents gave us a place to live, fed us when we were home and pretty much left us alone. Life was about socializing and making a few bucks so you could have fun.
Sure, we had normal melodramatic anxieties that go along with burgeoning adulthood and hormonal flux, but there was very little that couldn’t be put right by a good house party filled with Southern Comfort, sensimilla and Pink Floyd.
Now, by a strange twist of fate, I find I’m the parent of a teenager. Life is definitely not simple anymore for teenagers. I feel obligated to be on her all the time about buckling down, getting good grades, doing her music lessons, getting volunteer work experience under her belt, participating in sports and other school activities.
These are the keys to success in the 21st Century. I hate it. I hate nagging her about it all the time. I feel sorry for her. I want her to have fun and spend her youth enjoying life. But then, with all the competition out there, she won’t get into university, which will limit her future and we’d all end up on Dr. Phil one day.
There are decades of slog ahead, why can’t she have these paltry few years of young adulthood to be free from all this pressure?
The only consolation is the hope that working hard now will give her the opportunity and freedom to spend the rest of her life doing something she enjoys rather than just something she has to do for 7.5 hours every day to keep herself in groceries.
I try to tell her (and myself) that, but it doesn’t seem to cut much ice when the heady rush of teenagehood is on her now.