Preparedness is a strange thing. It’s taught by many groups ranging from kindergarten to the time you graduate college, but it’s never truly defined and it never seems to actually help you in any way. It’s said that school prepares you for college, and college prepares you for life. I think that’s a load of horse shit, and here’s why.
I was in scouts when I was younger and the one thing they always said was “be prepared.” I joined as a cub and graduated throughout the ranks until I was eventually a full-fledged scout. And although I hated it, it wasn’t all that bad, I met one of my best friends in scouts and went on many adventures with the group of boys I eventually came to call my family. For a couple of years we played jokes on each other, built and tore down countless campsites, rolled countless sleeping bags, and took stupid classes at camp. We built fires, swam for hours, explored caves, shot rifles and bows, and got lost in the woods on purpose just to find our way back. But worst of all, we camped in the snow. Yeah I earned my below-zero badge several times, and it wasn’t fun at all. Ok it was pretty fun, but I don’t advise using summer tents to camp in mid winter, I’m getting shivers just thinking about it.
But there soon came a time when all of this brotherly friendship turned into something different, something more annoying than fun: we all grew up. A-frames were replaced by high school desks, bunk-mates were replaced by classmates, leaders with teachers, fire pits and logs with cafeteria’s and tables crowded with chairs too small for your ass regardless of age,sex, or size. Tree’s and holes were replaced with bathrooms, charred burgers were replaced with mystery meats, and worst of all– friends were replaced by others. What was this world of porcelain and tile floors, sports teams and cliques, girlfriends and locker-mates? No one trained us for this, no one prepared us for this. No one cared to tell us that our friends would no longer talk to us because of what clothing we wore or music we listened to. You weren’t taught that your friend, who you’d bunked with for years, would become addicted to prescription drugs and drop out of high school to get his GED. You weren’t taught to deal with friends who you thought you knew attempt suicide– not for attention but to truly end their life. You weren’t trained to have every best friend you’d ever had move hours away and you certainly weren’t taught to deal with bullies who beat you up in the bathroom in between classes because you were different from them. Where the fuck was that preparedness course?
But you make it through, barely, some faring better than others. You graduate, hopefully, and look back at what you’ve accomplished. You look back at your old group of friends who now wear Abercrombie & Fitch rather than the uncomfortable tan shirt and olive drab pants of the past. You see the person you once called your best friend taken from you by drugs and alcohol because of family abuse. You watch your friends slowly sliding into mediocrity and think to yourself “what happened to wanting to be somebody?” But you carry on anyways and go to college to watch the cycle continue again. Friends come and go and classes blur into one giant shit storm of homework. You periodically check how your “friends” from back home are doing on Facebook or Twitter just to make sure they’re ok, even though they aren’t. You take unfathomable amounts of money out in loans to pay for your college, hoping you chose the right degree to pay it all off, trying not to think about what happens if you can’t. You go to class like a zombie, you procrastinate, eat wrong, gain weight, make friends, lose friends and fail classes. But you make it through, barely, some faring better than others. And you graduate, hopefully, and look back at what you’ve accomplished. You look back at your old group of friends, who now wear North Face rather than the ridiculous “preppy” clothing of the past. You see how much your teachers impacted you, changed you,molded you into who you are with their hammers of knowledge, and you say thank you. And you leave with zero dollars to your name and thousands of dollars in debt along with no idea on how to pay it off. So you move on and continue down the road called life.
And that’s the thing about preparedness. It isn’t taught in any school, or through any group, or by any one person. It’s taught by you, by your mistakes, by your misfortunes, by your failures, by your untouched level of dedication to be something better, to do something better. There is no preparing for the future the future is unforeseeable. Maybe that’s why the schools in America don’t teach you how to pay bills, take care of a child, change a flat on your car or integrate you into society. Then is it your parents job? Right, lets add that onto four jobs at one time, bills backing up, two kids in school one in college and a dad who doesn’t really give a shit. No, they have enough to do already.
Preparedness in my opinion is bullshit. You can plan all you want, but everything changes. Your four-year plan turns into a seven-year plan. Your plan to get that dream job is cut short by your inability to show up to your classes because “the party Saturday night was bumping.” And you’re plan to get ahead this time is ended by your slippery slope into who you were in high school.
If you’re going to prepare for anything, prepare to fail, it seems to be the only thing that is 100% going to happen other than death. Just remember this one thing: it isn’t how you fail but how you pick yourself back up afterwards that defines you as a person.
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