Remember when you were soooooo random XD growing up?
Remember when Ice Age came out1 in middle school and nobody could hold you back when, in the middle of a conversation between some friends slightly more interesting than yourself2, you would yell SQUIRREL! and quickly whip your head away from everyone? Not paying attention while your eyes dried out in the collective sighs of everybody who had already seen that movie a month before you?
Remember when you had to do WHATEVER IT TOOK to show your parents you were sooooo rebellious? You came home and your hands and face are 100% covered in bright green highlighter “JUST BECAUSE I WANT TO BE GREEN MOM, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.”
Wait, was that just me?
Well, after spending years of our lives trying to find ourselves, after the metaphorical, “momma’s #1 cutie” shirt from Zellers didn’t fit any more, and the lone bumper sticker on our parents' minivan says, “My child
wasis going to beisan honour student”, we have all found our way here to UTSC. We’re living relatively independent lives3, many of us living on our own now, struggling to do our laundry, eat well, uh…function?
Ok, so we’re TECHNICALLY adults now and we should do the whole 1 Corinthians 13:11 thing4 and “put the ways of a child behind [us].”
Yeah, that’s important right. I mean, you don’t want to be forty years old and not know how to cook your own food so you eat the same flavour of hot pockets5 for lunch every day in the super-office communal future-wave. Wondering why everyone avoids you, sitting in the same smelly mustard stained dress shirt and Bart Simpson coffee mug you’ve had and never washed6 since you were twenty.
Most of you should try to straighten your life out as much as you can while you’re here, I’m sure many of you are working part time now, pursuing some hobbies to your utmost ability whenever you can7, learning how to interact properly with people of the same and opposite sex so they’ll stop making fun of you8. I’m sure you’re already trying to work through your ‘quirks’ through various New Years Resolutions.
However, for the good of the character of the school, your own happiness, and for the joy of those around you, I hope you choose to embrace your weird this year. Don’t abandon it so it only lives on in some untagged childhood Facebook photo you’ll never see again because you deleted that creepy dude9 who took the picture anyway.
I beg you, don’t tuck away your small, very common and, for some reason, embarrassing behaviours to the recesses of an anonymous post on the internet that you laughed at. Live the experience and be proud of it. Sing or hum in the hallways when you’ve got a good song going in your head, if you’re walking and think of something funny and laugh about it, or try not to laugh about it, don’t try to hide the fact that it happened, share your joke while it’s still fresh and while it’s still good enough to laugh at. If you put together an outfit but it seems almost OUTRAGEOUS, someone’s going to think that’s the best thing they’ve seen all day, so don’t put it away.
Embrace your eccentricities this year, show them off, share them with people. It’s important, I think, not only because so many of the weird little things you do make you happy, but because they can easily be shared and make others happy. If you make someone smile, they might hold the door for you, and maybe even the next person they meet at the top of the stairs, and so, spread the joy.
I hope, while you grow older and wiser this year, and embrace what CS Lewis, “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” Just think of how weird and happy little kids are, and then think about how much people love weird things10.
1. To all of you who only became familiar with the franchise after all the mindless sequels nobody older than nine cared about1.1, I’m sorry.
1.1 i.e. Though not in the cool Land Before Time way, sorry.
2. Remember, this is back when a person’s character could be equally correlated to how cool their Beyblades were. If you had crappy Beyblades growing up, I'm sorry.
3. Children of needy helicopter parents that have never flown away, I’m sorry.
4. If having someone mention a bible passage in a non-religious context offends you, I’m sorry.
5. Imagine though, 20 years in the future, what kind of amazing hot pockets flavours they’ll have? I swear we’ll be able to eat lab-grown genetically engineered unicorn meat that will taste so good that if you eat more than just one bite you’ll be so overloaded with OMG DELICIOUS you’ll be in agonizing pain, but only because your brain thinks you’re UNWORTHY of having such a sensory experience more than once every 24 hours. Imagine a cross between pizza, ice cream, brownies, poutine, but ONLY the goodness of each. Does that sound gross? I’m sorry.
6. There will probably be rare moments where a roommate would clean them out of pity, or by accident, so it won’t be as bad as you imagine.Though it'd never be me, sorry.
7. Never give up on your dreams! One day you can reach the top of that Indie game’s leaderboard. Unless I hack the game and take your spot, sorry.
10. Case in Point