They went where they go, I went to a nearby Panera to start work.
I didnt immediately answer because the answer definitely cant be handled at Peties... what I saw in my head was a kaleidoscope of variables. Shapes and colors, no rhyme or reason to the patterns or movements. You might see it like that one day as well.
Couple things to understand... Life doesn't happen to you. You'll hear that a lot, mostly by people who never made it happen for themselves, or at least not the way they once imagined. So they cashed in and said "welp, life happened," when you ask how they wound up here.
Life is not an attacker, an oppressor, nor a gift giver or guardian angel. It's a canvas. A big one.
So first thing I advise is to start collecting your colors, which you already have a few, grab your brush, or brushes, and start painting. It is absolutely your canvas space and you are completely free to paint it however you choose. You choose. Not your parents, your teachers, coaches, friends, girlfriends, husbands, wives, kids, no one.
You even have the freedom to paint, then say "this one sucks," rip that sheet off and start again.
Now, tricky part about this canvas is that it's shared space. So be mindful to not let your drawing interfere with someone else's art. If you're lucky, you'll find yourself painting near some like minded people, then the painting gets really fun. Painting near others can definitely expand or shrink your creative space so be mindful of where you position yourself. This might be the biggest decision you ever make. And remember, you can move your seat if you like. Your free to do whatever you like. Although it's shared space, you have to grab a piece for yourself and not become a "watcher."
"Watchers..." do just that. They're the ones that let 10 years slip by, talking, observing, never doing, only complaining or criticizing those doing the painting... don't be a "watcher."
(Don't screw up anyone else's painting either).
So as you sit there, preparing to draw and create for the first time, just draw. Dont be afraid to make a mess or get paint on the floor. Mistakes will happen and on the first few tries, good chance the picture in your head, wont turn out exactly how you want it on the canvas. All good. It takes a little while and plenty of practice to hone your skills and learn how to create in a crowd. As long as you still have paint and a brush, you're still good to go.
Now, if a colorful painting analogy didnt do it for you, start w a goal list. Here's the juice in having one while you're young... You haven't dealt with 5,000 assholes telling you what you can't do. Secret is, there is nothing. Want to study abroad? Go. Want to become an NCAA ref? Go. Want to write a book? Go. Want to become a teacher/coach? Go do that too. There is no time limit, there is no boundary, there is no hurry, there are no NO's. It's all yes's and opportunity. Now, someone may advise... "Eh, lets do this first, then that..." Why? Measure their advice wisely. Where is it coming from? Even love can be masked with fear and most people wont have your courage or most importantly your dreams. They don't see your canvas the way you do, and again... it's yours to paint. They're painting there own. I promise you, someone is reading this right now and thinking "Shut your mouth, you crazy sob!" but they know its accurate.
Important things to keep in mind, in no particular order:
1) Don't go into debt. - No school debt, no house debt, definitely no credit card debt. Debt could force you into working jobs you hate and way too many hours doing it. Debt is modern day slavery.
2) Travel as much as possible. - See that globe? Spin it. Much larger than these few square miles. Go see it all.
3) Don't take anything toooo seriously. - Ya, we may do some things here and there that can carry some weight, but when the dust settles, we're still who we are and you're going out the same way you came in.
4) When you have the cash, own a boat and a motorcycle. - Because why not?? Cars are like watching television... you cant feel it. Get in it.
5) Be honest. - Even if it scares the shit out of you.
6) And don't be afraid to change your mind. - You might change 50x over the next 70 years, so what?
7) Find a good role model and study him/her a little.
8) Never give up
So "now what do we do?"
Anything you want. There are no no's, only yes's and opportunity for those who want it. Never forget it, never cave in, never give up.
I think you knew this would be answer tho... did you really think "Are you going to college?" was it?