Youth and Young Manhood

“Hey, how was your summer?”

“Ooh great, I went to Barcelona and visited the cathedral and saw a bear and went to the beach and had a holiday fling and tasted all kinds of seafood and… and… and… what did you get up to?”

“Err… I spent most of my time behind a bar.”

That’s how every conversation I have for the first month or so back in Edinburgh will go. I have undoubtedly wasted my summer working slavishly every day just to scrape enough money together to pay some rent and take a bit off pressure off during the year. All summer I have been out to town twice. All summer. When I was at college, that was a weekly occurrence, at least! I have spent too little time with my friends, in fact I’ve seen my best friend twice all summer because he’s working just as much as I am. And it’s likely that I’ll have to spend every summer like this until I finish university, and then I’ll get a proper job and I won’t even have a summer! Pondering upon just how depressing this summer has been, I’ve come to wonder whether I’ve wasted my entire youth in the same way.

Have I spent too long poring over books and cramming to get good grades, and too little time messing round with my mates? Or did I get the balance about right? Looking back, I’ve in fact had a pretty damn fine childhood. I’ve taken lifechanging trips to Texas, Switzerland, Holland and Hong Kong. I’ve been white water rafting, deep sea fishing, powerboating. I’ve built my own rafts and my own shelter from nothing. I’ve been in all kinds of competitions from football to kayaking to rifle shooting to athletics, and done well in most of them. And what’s more, I’ve also been pretty successful at school as well.

So I might have worked a bit too hard this summer, but it can’t be said that I haven’t had a good childhood in general. Maybe it’s just that my youth is over and I’ve got to live in the real world now. It’s kind of a depressing thought.

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