Picked up some OT at work today and worked pretty much from sun up to sun down. Was able to break up the day fairly well though by swinging out to Grand Haven State Park for most of the afternoon with a few of the kids.
You know, generally I find all the strutting and posing and preening of the teenage beach scene thoroughly irritating, but today all that shallowness struck me a little differently. I was watching a pack of teenage boy, presumably high schoolers, drifting about in knee high beach break (with their much too shiny, much too small surfboards). Missing wave after wave, but never an opportunity to catch someone’s eye.
Anyway, I thought to myself, they may be going about it all wrong (turning opportunities for real athletic joy into peacock feathers), but there really is something to be said for the lifestyle they’re enjoying. Hour after hour every day spent not worrying about anything of real importance. Just running around having fun, trying to keep skin exposed to the sun, trying to feel loved.
Sometimes I think I did everything all backwards. I was one of those driven high school kids (goals: future patent attorney and high school state wrestling champion) who pretty much pushed aside friends and goofing off in pursuit of achievement. I missed one day of school in four years of high school and that was all but West Nile Virus status. I stuck to a strict wrestling diet, did my homework during lunch hour, trained liked crazy after school, trained even more after getting home, did more homework and went to bed. I had sports acquiantances but no real close friends. I think I was sad a lot, but counter-balanced that with feeling good about A’s and winning at sports. I remember the relief I felt after my last wrestling match Senior year when I realized how much extra free time I would have and how I could final stop looking so closely at nutritional content.
I went to college and bailed on the patent attornery thing almost right off the bat. I slacked a lot and spent four years figuring out how to get grades that made me happy without sacrificing any of my fun time. And also figuring out how to make friends and enjoy their company (stuff I suppose I probably should’ve picked up in middle school). But also how to enjoy the massive amount of alone time I need without coming across as standoffish or isolative.
Sometimes I wonder how if maybe I could’ve got my goofing off out of the way a little earlier (surfing and preening at the beach instead of running an extra six miles) than maybe some of those high school work habits would’ve popped out again in the later years. Instead of leaving a twenty-seven year old who still hasn’t quite figured out what he wants out of life. Success or fun. Really this twenty-seven year old wants both and is kind fighting a losing battle with each one.
Or maybe I would’ve just smoked a lot of marijuana and would be living in a hostel in Mexico right now. Hey man, can I get a buck?