‘Searching for a boy in high school is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie.’
It was 1995 and I was at the movies with my best friend. We watched feverishly as Alicia Silverstone stroked her face with a fluffy pen, her perfect hair framing her pouty face, slender mini-skirt clad legs elegantly crossed under a school desk.
Our new personalities firmly downloaded into our brains and we spent the next few months taping feathers to all of our school supplies and saying ‘As if!’ and ‘Whatever!’ to the point where our parents wanted to disown us.
No less than a year later and we were smearing eyeliner on our fresh baby lids and painting our mouths that deeply unflattering burgundy brown colour I blame Alyssa Milano for. We’d just watched The Craft and became witches overnight. Saving our money from our weekend jobs we spent every spare cent on candles and spellbooks from the new age store at the mall and held cringe-worthy seances in my bedroom with my parents watching Hey Hey It’s Saturday in the next room.
Obviously, neither of these faux-personalities stuck around. Nor did the dozen or so others that we tried after that but far out it was fun. Discovering and trying out these sub-cultures like they’re were wedding dresses. Skater, goth, cybergoth, normcore, steampunk, Lolita, emo, scene, hipster, soft grunge. The Spice Girls – were you Sporty? Posh? Baby? Scary? Or Ginger?
We don’t do this as much as adults. I mean we do, it’s just not as obvious. It has a more practical application. We get into yoga or Thermomix. House plants and low waste. Book clubs. Hiking. We don’t tend to advertise our interests as adults. I miss the days of the all-in reinvention when one of your mates showed up to school with a shaved head and decided she was like ‘Really into raves right now.’ Somehow along the way, it’s become less cool to be into stuff and enthusiasm is often met with scorn.
Can we collectively tell that idea to fuck off? Who cares about being cool? Wouldn’t you rather just enjoy stuff? I met a guy recently who still does Warhammer. I’m not sure if I used the correct terminology here (do you ‘do’ Warhammer? Or do you just Warhammer?) but I had no idea people were still Warhammering. He was telling me how he and his son and have been doing it together – painting the figurines and playing – and he’s really enjoying it. It took him a while to warm up but then he got really enthusiastic and started talking about how it’s teaching his son strategy and also keeping him away from screens. It’s also a lovely bonding hobby for them to do together. The apologetic tone in his voice broke my heart. There’s a hierarchy of hobbies born in high school that trickles into our adult life and it’s hard to shake. Cool hobbies are sport. Uncool hobbies are literally everything else that isn’t that sport. Not even all sports are cool – any orienteerers out there? Netballers? Unless it’s football or you can win it in the Olympics, it’s not even worth mentioning at the school assemblies. There’s nothing wrong with sport but it might be nice for other things to be celebrated occasionally, particularly in schools. In case you can’t tell I’m a drama kid whose achievements were largely ignored in high school when everyone else only had to fart in the direction of 100m sprint before they got a medal for it. As a result, I’m still very angry at sport in general because of its overinflated importance that unfortunately did not wane as I reached adulthood. Damn it.
It’s this hero-worshipping of sport that leads us to think of the things we non-sport lovers enjoy as lame. Like when someone sheepishly admits they watch The Bachelor or gets into flower arranging. No one questions a grown man wearing head to toe football regalia and planning their whole social life around weekend games and subsequent hangovers from said games. However, if a dude decided to meet his musical hobby with the same enthusiasm, he’d probably have a lot of explaining to do, especially if he’s straight.
Let’s all make the effort to get excited about the things our friends are excited about shall we? All of it. Sport included. Let’s even the playing field and be champions for each other’s passions.
On that note, if you’re feeling a bit slumpy, what not reinvent yourself? You don’t have to go all out but it would be super rad if you did. Here are a few ways to give yourself an adult life make-over.
1. Write down a list of everything you love
Literally everything. Here are some things you might like.
- True crime
- Old movies
- Trashy romance novels
- The Hunger Games
- Classic literature
- The Olympics
- Watching movies
- 90s pub rock
- Drew Barrymore
- Playing video games
- Taylor Swift
- Seeing live music
- Building things
- Dungeons and Dragons
- Michelle Obama
- The environment
Choose the three things you like the most and start doing them. Pretend you’re in high school and you just discovered this rad new thing. Go to the library and read all about it. Find other people who are into and follow them on Instagram. Get in deep girlfriend.
2. Look to your past
Think about the things you loved doing as a teenager when you had all the time in the word and zero responsibility. What did you spend your weekends doing? Making friendship bracelets? Re-arranging your bedroom? Writing plays? Try to bring some of these things back into your life. Put your phone down and pretend it’s 1995 before we had wifi and do what you used to do back then.
3. Look to your future
What do you actually want from your future? This time next year what do you want to be doing? What’s your job? What are you wearing? Where are you living? Who are you living with? What do you do on the weekends? What do you look like? Answering these questions will help you find the things you want to be spending your time on. For instance, if you want to travel regularly, keeping a mini barnyard of animals at home might not be the best idea.
4. Think about what the physical manifestation of that looks like
I’m not saying you need a full-on makeover but the way you dress really is a preview into the type of person you are. For instance, if I see a woman wearing a bobble cardigan and clogs I can be fairly sure we’re going to have a mad chat about fibre crafts over an almond milk latte. Our clothes say so much about ourselves. Football jerseys, athleisure wear, streetwear. There are even certain brands that are like mini previews of that person’s personality – I can pick a Gorman/Obus/Marimekko dress from ten paces. Think about what you’re into and how that translates into the way you dress.
5. Share your journey
When you’re a teenager and find something you love, you want to talk about it all the time and you often do. When we’re adults we tend to be a little shyer about these things. Sing it from the rooftops, my friend. Especially if it’s something cool like Liane Moriarity books or baking – something other people might like to do too. I’ve recently been following a lot of book bloggers because I like reading but it’s not something I want to spend a lot of time researching so I turn to the experts. There are some rad people out there who do excellent recommendations – I haven’t read a bad book in months and all because there are people out there much better than this at me who share their findings. Be that person.
6. Be brave
Reinventing yourself is scary and you might lose some friends particularly if your reinvention means less pub hangs and more time spent at the gym but that’s why you’re doing it in the first place. To mix things up. Be unapologetic about what you’re doing and if anyone doesn’t like it they can get stuffed.
7. Reinvent yourself again
Keep doing it! Every time you have a major life change, stage a reinvention. Take control of it. Do something drastic to your hair. Go on a restorative yoga weekend retreat. Volunteer. Do something outside of your comfort zone. Quit drinking for a year. Start dressing in the 1950s style you’ve always loved. Lean into your baking passion.
So what do you think? Are you in need of reinvention? What type of person are you going to be? How exciting – it’s like a blank page for the next stage of your life.
Also, you should totally sign up for my newsletter. I’ve started sending weekly newsletters again and they’re full of useful things and don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer if you fancy making all your Christmas presents this year.