I'm full of rants lately. You've been warned again.
Apparently I'm doing some advice-I-hate series, because I have yet another bit o' wisdom that makes me go OHMYGOSH WHY?? This one comes from quite a few sources, and quite frequently. It gets me more and more infuriated with each reiteration, until, well, angry blog posts happen. Said piece of advice:
"You're young. Don't worry so much about it. You've got plenty of time. "
Again, there is a *tiny* glimmer of good advice in here, and it's that *tiny* glimmer that I think is the intended bit of advice the advice-givers give. That *tiny* glimmer is that we shouldn't put so much pressure on ourselves to get something NOWNOWNOW. Which is an admirable piece of advice to be sure.
There's always a but.
I'll be 21 in August. When I tell people I have an agent and have written novels (the plural always gets 'em), they get this "Wow!" look that makes me a little...uneasy. Like because of my age, they didn't expect as much out of me.
If I had listened to their advice and "not worried so much" about getting an agent or getting published, I wouldn't have the world's most AMAZING agent and wouldn't have nearly the experience/growth I have as a writer. I'd be far less mature and far less driven, and would be nowhere near as close to achieving my publishing goals as I am.
It was hard. REALLY hard. And a lot of it sucked. But do I regret any of it? Do I feel like in focusing on a writing career instead of "being a teenager" that I was cheated out of anything? HELL NO. What did I miss? Honestly, I can't think of one high school/teenage experience that I would go back and add to my life.
And now, being almost 21, I have the same advice given to me about (you guessed it) BOYS. Relationships. *gasp* MARRIAGE. Even though I'd say about 70% of my friends are engaged and/or in serious relationships, I get told to "slow down" and "not worry about it" because I'm young and have my entire life to get married. True. But telling me this, giving me this advice, doesn't stop the fact that I still WANT things. Telling me not to worry so much about my writing career didn't kill my dream to be published. It just...actually, it didn't affect me at all. I kept right on going at the pace I was going. I'm a great listener.
I feel like this piece of advice is offering me a cop-out. A way to shrug off the responsibility of being mature and say "Eh, I'm young. I don't have to worry about "adult" things. I'll just sit here and mooch off people and take it easy. After all, I have my WHOLE LIFE to do stuff."
When does one become "old enough" to worry about things, exactly? When I'm 25? Is that when I should start seriously worrying about why I have no marriage prospects or why my book isn't getting picked up or why I have no job options? Or maybe 30? 35? What is the cut-off age for being "young enough" to not worry about things? Or will me not worrying about things suddenly become "irresponsible" one day, and all this advice about not worrying will suddenly turn into angry shouts of how "lazy" I am?
Or maybe I could just keep on living how I am living and wanting what I want. Because even though I am young, I still know what I want. I still know I want my book published. I still know I want to get married. And just because I'm young and I have "plenty of time" doesn't mean I'm going to stop seeking these things. I'm not going to give up on them until a more "opportune" time in my life. I don't think such times exist. Waiting for the stars to align and the moon to glow just right and the seasons to cooperate and I'm emotionally stable and financially secure and oh, yeah, I have a nice house, too -- it's like waiting for rain in a desert. Possible, but not probable.
So while I appreciate the advice, I can't take it. Taking it would mean to stop fighting for what I want. And I can't stop fighting.