When I was a little girl I hated going to school. I hated the early start, the uniform, the ill-mannered, awkward monsters I shared the school bus with, and the classes that were “totally a waste of time!”. Mostly the early start – my friends and family can attest to the fact that I am categorically not a morning person.
My parents’ favourite anecdote (which they unfailingly pull out at dinner parties, birthdays, religious festivals, etc.) has always been the time when, after being nudged awake by them for school, 5 year old me decided to fake it ’til I made it. I squeezed my eyes shut and fake bawled “My eyes are stuck!”. My cunning plan must have been pathetically see-through (as is anything conceived by a tiny 5-year old brain) because I fell for the old there’s-a-giant-spider-on-your-pillow trick for the zillionth time. Note to parents: This trick works surprisingly well. After hysterically swatting my pillow and legit crying because I swear I could feel spider eggs in my ear canal, I was in the bathroom in 8 seconds while my sister cruelly laughed. Self-pity was kind of my thing growing up.
But each and every one of those mornings, although I had my trusty (and very cool) clock radio alarm, my father would get me out of bed, iron my clothes, make my breakfast, and – my favourite part of the day – he would wait for the 5:45am school bus with me. We would talk about school (mine), work (his), the news, the weather, grasp for anything that would jolt our sleepy heads awake for the day. He gave me advice that I never took, but he’d make sure he’d tell me anyway, over the rolling eyes and know-it-all sighs.
Fast forward 20 years and I’ve officially been a university graduate for 4 months with 1,001 job applications sent and 1 interview (I bravely turned down the job I knew I’d hate) under my belt. While struggling to wake up to my modest 9 AM alarm after three years of mid-morning risings and actually achieve something today I realised that I am one of those mythical beasts we’ve all feared turning into – an adult. I’ll never wait for the school bus with my dad again, to be taken to school and be told what to learn and when I’ll be challenged and know I have another year all mapped out for me by well-meaning adults. My education bubble has officially burst and there is no giant icky eight-legged motivation on my pillow forcing me to jumpstart my life.
There is so much I have no control over right now (the imminent start to a long-distance relationship when I moved to Bangalore, India), and so much more that I have absolute control over (my career). What the future will bring is a testament to how well I take control of what I create and work for, as much as it is a testament to how well I can relinquish control over my relationship to the forces of distance and uncertainty.
While friends and family will be even more present (I’ll be moving in with my dad whose advice I still don’t take), these are my eyes and only I can unstick them.