Young people of the world, hear me now. Whatever your elders tell you about the world – take it with a pinch of salt. Heed their advice, but don’t let it be a rule set in stone. And no matter what, don’t think that you can’t change later. You can. You ALWAYS can.
If you’re wondering why I’m sharing these few words of support right now, it’s because traditionally this is the time when exam season sets in and people of 16+ are planning on leaving school and figuring out their next steps in life. And I may, or may not, have a son around that age and it was on my mind what support I would give to him at this time.
How Much Guidance Does a Guidance Councillor Give? None Apparently
You see, when you get to my age (40+) you often look at your own life and analyse the ups and downs, what things you did right or could have done better.
When I was in my last year of school, I had a meeting with a careers guidance councillor. He was awful. I mean if you wanted your hopes and dreams crushed in a 15 minute meeting, he was the guy to call.
I’d explained I wanted to design cars, but he proceeded to tell me only the rich kids that go to Oxford/Cambridge get to do that, and systematically took a metaphorical dump all over most of my follow-up ideas.
I left school and, due to the fact I’d hated every minute of it, decided I didn’t want college – I wanted to get to work.
I eventually got a decent job and worked had, built myself a great reputation and made a career spanning over 15 years in print design.
Then I’d had enough. I needed to get out and see Britain, experience life. So I started all over again in transport as a courier. It’s not a high-earning job, but I don’t care. I have no use for lots of money and I have no plans to live long into retirement. So for me and what I need and want from life right now, it’s perfect.
And that’s what I would hope for my (theoretical) son – that he would choose to do whatever makes him happy.
Like Benjamin Button in Reverse
Most of you “young’uns” probably haven’t seen the film ‘The curious case of Benjamin Button’. I can understand that, I guess it’s fairly old now, but it’s quite good and I’d recommend giving it a go.
The one thing that always stood out for me though is the monologue delivered at the end of the movie. It’s a wonderfully written piece of advice to all of us to realise that this life is long enough for us to try different things. We can make mistakes and recover from them. The ultimate goal of life is just to try and find your own happiness.
“For what it’s worth:
it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.
There’s no time limit, start whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of time. I hope you make the best of it.
And I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of.
If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
The full quote is even longer but I couldn’t be bothered typing it, so here’s a clip from the movie.