Throughout my life, I have had many learning experiences. For example: It’s never a good idea to drink apple juice right after you brush your teeth (for the record, I hate orange juice). Fedoras will never be in style. It’s perfectly okay to wait to do an assignment until the night before it’s due. If you have to choose between doing your school work and getting on Twitter… well 4000 tweets later and you should be able to admit that you have a problem. My name is Tyler and I am a tweet-a-holic. If you would like to sponsor me please let me know. If you leave a Lego on the floor and step on it, you will be in pain. Likewise, if you leave a Lego on the floor and your parents step on it you will be grounded.
There are a lot of lessons I learned in my childhood, but some of the most important lessons came from my childhood hero… Spongebob Squarepants. This little sponge practically defined the meaning of life. Without Spongebob I never would have learned that the best time to wear a striped sweater is, conveniently, all the time! The Krusty Krab pizza is indeed the pizza for both you and me and mayonnaise is not an instrument*mind blown gesture.* But there are five very important lessons that Spongebob and company taught me that have been able get me through high school:
1. Pursue your goals with enthusiasm. When Spongebob and Patrick wanted to be entrepreneurs did they let anything get in their way? No. They sold their chocolate bars with their eyes on a prize: Fancy living. Nothing could stop. If you have a goal don’t let anything stop you from going after it. Former football coach and motivational speaker Lou Holtz once said: ““If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don't have enough goals.” High School has taught me that life is much more enjoyable if you wake up every day and tell yourself, like Spongebob, “I’m ready.”
You don’t have to be what everyone expects you to be. My spirit animal, Gary the Snail, once said: “Meow…” I’ll just let that sink in. We live in a society where people want to turn you into something. There’s no rule that says you have to let them. If Sandy Cheeks conformed to society would she be living in a dome underwater? No. She’s a squirrel. Coincidentally she’s also a woman who is a rocket scientist and a karate master. Spongebob and company taught me that it’s perfectly okay to be an un-athletic male in a society obsessed with sports. Perfectly fine. Not one thing is wrong with that scenario. Everyone has the right to be the person that they want to be. Except for Jack the Ripper.
Don’t take things for granted. The world is not obligated to hand you your life on a silver platter. If you expect the world to be spoon fed to you, you are sorely mistaken. If you expect life to be spoon fed to you while saying “open the tunnel, here comes the train!” you are sorely immature… and still mistaken. The fact is that sometimes your neighbor / co-worker annoys you. They like to sing songs and interrupt your clarinet playing. They’re kind of loud and obnoxious. But when you find out that they might have swallowed an explosive pie you realize you took that person for granted. You are going to miss that person. While we might not realize it now, there are things about high school that we are going to miss. It varies from person to person. Don’t wait to appreciate the things you have until after they’ve ingested an explosive pie.
Your friends are important. Every Spongebob needs a Patrick. Who else is going to go Jellyfishing with you? Who else will blow bubbles with you? Once upon a time Spongebob asked Patrick “What do you normally do when I’m gone?” To which Patrick replied “Wait for you to get back.” That’s beautiful. If there’s one thing that Spongebob taught me that has helped me survive the occasionally hellish world of public high school, it’s that you should be able to lean on your friends. More importantly you should be able to have fun with your friends. High school was a lot easier when you were having fun.
If you have a passion you need to go for it. Squidward plays his clarinet. Sandy is a rocket scientist karate master. Mr. Krabs is a cheapskate. Spongebob does karate, fry cooking, jelly fishing, the occasional song, laughing, nose-fluteplaying, weight lifting when he had those blow up muscle arm things that I wish I had, driving (kind of), and his love for Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Everyone minus Lindsay Lohan has the right to be passionate about something (as long as that passion isn’t collecting your nail clippings, streaking, veganism, or a dedication to bad personal hygiene). If you love it go for it. If you want it you need to go out and get it, because good things don’t come to those who wait. Good things come to people who get off their butts and chase after them… unless you count excessive amounts of cholesterol as a “good thing.” Then by all means, sit there and wait.
High school is a government mandate that occasionally drives you crazy… just like sales tax. However, unlike taxes, high school was, hopefully, good for you and a learning experience. Hopefully you will walk across that stage, diploma in hand (unless you didn’t pay those parking tickets or library fines) and feel like you have accomplished something. As young adults I think that sometimes we forget that this is the end of a chapter, and the novel of our lives is still very much in the beginning part of the story. The best part is that you’re the author. Write the story that you would want to tell (and try not to base it off of the life of Amanda Bynes or Charlie Sheen). There’s a whole world out there that you haven’t seen yet. So as the random pirate picture on the wall would say… are ya’ ready kids?