I recently posted a video on my YouTube channel called “Spring Break: Girls Gone Wild” which is my tongue and cheek exposé on the dangers of spring break culture. I very openly admit that I have never actually experienced what one might term a “normal” spring break because of a combination of highly over-protective parents and an obsession with academics so I usually spent my spring breaks holed up in my room writing papers and reading.
One of the first comments I received on this video, though something I expected, is still insulting, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to pick apart some of the nuances of the ignorance people express when they make comments like this:
First, let’s define “boring.”
If, by “boring” you mean I was the type of teenager who didn’t spend every weekend out partying, drinking away my brain cells, and trying to seduce the hottest guys in school to sleep with me in hopes of gaining popularity, then yeah, I was a “boring teenager.” But looking back, that actually makes me quite happy to be one.
When I was in high school, I definitely felt like my life was boring. I went to school every day, I participated in all my clubs, I socialized at school but very little after school hours, and I worked hard on my homework. Most of the time I felt compelled to do these things because of my personal expectations of getting into a good college, and I promised myself that the “fun” would come once I was out of school.
But a few years later when I was in college and legally eligible to drink, I had little interest in going to beach week or spring break and getting smashed while being promiscuous. By that point in my life, I had realized that type of scene just wasn’t my thing. I didn’t enjoy it so why force myself to do it just so I wouldn’t be seen as boring? Or so that I could feel like I was experiencing “life to the fullest”? YOLO, you know?
Second, does this really make my life “boring”?
I would suggest that immaturity makes people mistake “different” for “boring” so that a life like mine appears grey and meaningless. But on the contrary, my life isn’t as boring and meaningless as one might think. There’s plenty of excitement, it just doesn’t involve outlandish spring break partying. I’m the type of person who gets excited at the prospect of a free weekend and stack of library books I’ve been itching to read. I intensely love traditions so that even the smallest holiday is a special day to me. I also really enjoy spending time with friends or alone in nature because it gives me a sense of Zen that I can’t accomplish anywhere else. My life may not be all parties and YOLO-craziness, but (shall I say it?) I guess I don’t need to get drunk to have fun. (Oh! I said it!)
Third, let’s talk about the tense.
Besides the general insinuation that my life is somehow boring because I never went on a spring break, I’d also like to draw attention to the tense that the commenter chose to write in. Using the past tense, he/she seems to be suggesting that my life is over. That I “lived” this boring life and now I have nothing, apparently not even life left to live. I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware that I had died and my life was over in the process of making this video. It seems quite odd since I feel very alive and capable of making my life “non-boring” or at least my own (very different from mainstream) form of interesting.
I’m sure this wasn’t the commenter’s intention, but I felt like being nitpicky. Also, I think it’s important to note that teenagers tend to view teenage-dom as the “END ALL BE ALL,” and if you don’t enjoy life while you’re in high school then you’ll never actually do so. First, let me say, that high school is not the best time of your life. For most people, that would actually be college, and it’s because it’s usually your first foray into the adult world with very few responsibilities except making grades good enough to remain enrolled in your institution. Teenagers, unfortunately, take themselves way to seriously so that kids are ridiculed for not living a YOLO lifestyle when they’re sixteen. If there is one thing I wish I could tell my teenage self it would be that my life was not boring, and I could enjoy what I had so much more if I just let go of feeling like I was missing out because I wasn’t desperately trying to be someone I’m not.
Finally, can life ever really be “boring”?
So I’ve used “YOLO” a lot in the post (something I never thought I would dare do), but it’s because it fits the central theme. Yes, you do only live once (unless of course, you believe in reincarnation but that’s an entirely different blog post), but there is no right or wrong way to live (at least as defined by teenagers). The important part of life is that you get up every day and do something—ANYTHING—whether it’s something you love or something you hate or something you never thought you’d be doing in a million years. Not everyone needs to go on a crazy spring break to feel fulfilled—in fact, from the statistics I used in my video, spring break is much less fulfilling than it is empty, dangerous, and potentially life-ruining. (Can you say STIs, unplanned pregnancies, and a criminal record? Ew!)
Let’s just say that I like my life just the way it is—nerdy and all. It’s made me who I am today. If you want to go on a wild spring break, have at it! But don’t judge others and call them “boring” because they choose differently.