I no longer blame myself for my failings. Instead, I blame the world. I realise that so much is unfair and beyond my control. Also, blaming the world makes me feel better about myself.
At 15, I was scared of authorities and systems. They seemed eternal. But I’ve seen the generation above us abandoning the rules they once imposed. They’ve taken new lovers, embarked on trips, changed their fundamental beliefs, given up. Authorities will crumble: my children will come to realise this, too. There is no real penalty for not doing your homework.
I know that people are self-righteous about the issues of the day, but scornful of how things were done in the past. Future generations will feel similarly towards us. We may be obsessed with gay marriage and white privilege but those who come after us will embrace something else, perhaps animal liberation. They will look upon us as cruel, barbaric and incomprehensible. We will be vilified.
I no longer need to be similar to other people. When I was 15 I did all kinds of things I hated just to be like everyone else: going to youth camps, spending the day on Clifton, wearing my socks rolled down below my ankles. I realise that people are not like one another, even if there are some feelings we all experience.
I now understand that the cool boys think everything comes easy. They get fat. Nerdy boys have always got something to prove. This keeps them lean and hungry.