Welcome to this week's episode of The Freedom Fridays podcast. And I have two guests this week, two very interesting guests who have got, compared to my previous guests, a very unique story. So first of all, please welcome Sammy and Evie. Hi, girls, how are you?
Good. How are you?
I'm good, thank you. Now a bit of context. Evie is my youngest daughter, who has a bit of an interesting story. And Sam is one of her best mates who has the same sort of story. So as we always start this podcast with the same question, what's the big change that you two are going through or have gone through?
We're finishing high school, ending the HSC, on to real life now.
Wow, it's a big moment.
So 12 years of institutionalisation in school, learning what you're told to learn. Now you can wake up and do nothing or anything. How does it feel having finished that part of your lives?
Well, it feels pretty freeing. But also, yes, it's kind of scary. For years, we've been told, not told what to do. But we've had a plan for us. Because we needed that as kids but I still feel like a kid. Like I still need the, yes, it'll be it'll be fun. We still need that push and that motivation to actually like, do something now we just have so much time we don't actually, we don't know what to do. Yes, there's so much time that it's just scary and exciting.
Let me pick up in both of those comments there. Sammy, I'm going to come to you first, you said it was freeing, what part of it is freeing and which part of you feels more free?
Yes, well, just being able to choose what we do on a daily basis. And being able to study what we want in the future to choose a specific career path. And that's good, not being held, having to just learn what we're being taught, the syllabus that isn't really adapted to the individual being able to choose what specifically you want to study.
Thank you, and Evie you said it's scary. What's the scary part and which part of us the most scared?
I think it's scary because there's no plan. No one has a plan. I mean, you can have your I'm going to uni for a year, but it's kind of the start of your life. You plan from now to the end, you have school, and that's sort of everything that everyone does. So you go your own way. And it's scary, but in a good way. Pretty overwhelming. Yeah.
Okay, so chronologically, you're both adults now you're 18. Does it feel like you're adults when you see other adults?
No. I think also because of COVID we haven't really had the 17-18 year 11 and 12 that most people have. So we haven't gone through the natural stages.
Do you feel you've missed out?
Yeah, big time. Like, going into clubs for the first time it's just like, What, are we supposed to be? Yes, I feel like we've missed it. But it's sort of bonded us together as well. Where I feel like we're pretty close year group compared to most. And everyone's also on the same, I feel like everyone's just so willing to be friends and work together, because everyone's just wants to do as best as we can.
Yes, I suspect that in the future, commentators will label these two or three year groups as the COVID year groups. And we know when you go through trauma and challenge, often you come out the other side stronger. I'd be interested in how you feel, either individually or collectively you've come out stronger, but also weaker.
Well, I mean, personally, hearing the Educational Department being like, they're going to be the most resilient year group. I honestly don't feel resilient at all, going into HSC I was just like, I don't care any more, my study was just out the window. As soon as that second lockdown happened, I just lost everything. Yes, I feel like people our age are more motivated for, once we graduated, to do what we want, because we've haven't been able to do anything for so long. People are so into going to uni getting jobs travelling. Everyone's very, let's get stuff done, because we haven't been able to for years.
Yes, you're kind of going from from zero to 100 miles an hour pretty quickly.
Yes, it's fun, it's good. We can start living again, I guess.
And as an adult, not necessarily as a teenager, which obviously has some barriers to it. Whereas, as an adult, you still get the societal barriers perhaps, but you can kind of do what you want. Is that exciting? Like, yeah, let's go, or is it like, we don't know what to choose.
I bit of both honestly. I think it's exciting with the sort of legal stage where you can like we can vote now obviously, we can drink and do all that sort of stuff. Parents can't tell us what to do. But it's scary that now we are independent. Like, there's no excuses anymore.
So I'm going to ask the parent question. Because whilst, technically at 18 you are in society's view an adult, you don't have to do anything and be told what to do unless it's against the law, for example. But it's interesting, the day before you're 18, you might understand and respect and do what mum and dad says, and the day after you can go two fingers up, no chance, but nothing's really changed other than a day's gone by. What do you think, now will happen when you hear adults say you should be doing this, you should be, and I don't just mean mums and dads. But any adult is that going to change for you now that you are chronologically an adult?
I think that decisions now might be more negotiated. I mean, in our family, we're pretty have conversations often, but some families don't. Some children are told you're not allowed to do this, and now they're adults, they can do what they want. But it's just more of a respect between kids and parents, once you get to the age where you can be an adult. And just like acknowledging, obviously, you have your own perspective, and you want to do something, you're going to do it but you know, just taking on other people's ideas.
So I'm going to ask you to be really judgmental here and no names, that would be unfair. When you look out into the world, and you see other adults, right, other adults that you observe, what are the traits that you kind of go, I am never, ever going to do that. I don't want to be like that, and on the other side, what are the traits that you see and go, oh I quite like that, I like that idea.
I don't want to get stuck in a every day the same, like living but not really living kind of thing, just surviving. I don't want to do, I don't want to just survive in life. I want to live, get stuff done. Do things I want to do, not just work. Yeah, I'd say the same. I'd say I don't really want to get caught up in the whole materialistic aspect of society. That's just like, I don't want to but it's kind of inevitable, quite hard to divert from that. Not drama and stuff like that.
As in emotional conversational drama?
Yeah, like unfriendliness. Like that, like within COVID a lot of that has happened, you know, within friend groups, because of lockdown, restrictions has created lots of drama, and I guess unfriendliness but that's what I try to divert away from because I do not like that in my life.
Tell me, would you explain a bit more, how has lockdown created more drama?
So with restrictions on people, basically I'd say exclusion has occurred a lot. Like obviously, it's not something you can control. But it does hurt other people's feelings at the end of the day, even if it's was you're going to get fine. I think also, in lockdown you only see the people you really want to see. And so if people don't have some close friends, I don't know, I think it can be very isolating. I think we did pretty well to see a lot of people but unless you make the effort or people make the effort with you lockdown can be like, you have an excuse to stay home for months. It was also really hard because we were lucky enough to have our own vehicles to get around during lockdown, see one other person outdoors go for exercise. But some people didn't have that opportunity. They could, like you physically can't get in a car with someone else during that period. So I think it was hard for some people not being able to physically be in contact with other people just, over the screen, you don't really get any genuine connection with people.
Evie you said that you were keen to live life to the fullest. And that definition may change as you go through different cycles in life. What does that look like for an 18 year old female just finished school, potentially going to uni, living in New South Wales in Australia? What does that look like for you two?
I mean, pretty privileged life we live so I guess, I think just surrounding yourself with positive people being around people you actually like not just people that are there, doing different things. I mean, obviously for us, it's going out partying, going to the beach, social, that kind of stuff, but just being present in life in the small times.
Present in life in the small times. Let me give me an example of a small time.
Patting my dog. Looking at the sun all the little things that you don't really think about.
Yeah, and when I said small, I didn't mean insignificant, and you've taken it to mean small moments. And in those moments patting your dog looking at the stars, those are the most, for you, the most precious moments. Is that for you what living life to the fullest as an 18 year old is right now?
It's hard to tell. I think just being present and appreciative of all the little, it's easy to go throughout a day being like nothing really happened. Today was an all right day, I just went to the beach again, where it's like, just like you're lucky! Getting new experiences and just because well, we obviously starting our lives, we want to experience things we haven't experienced before. Just appreciating it and living in the moment. Not being attached to your phone and being, Oh, who's here, who should we invite?
Because you two probably won't even remember not having phones. And these days they're not phones they're everything.
They're literally your entire life. If you don't have your phone, what are you doing?
And how much do you think you, do like that, is it just because it's the way it is, it's necessary?
I'm definitely passive in it, but I hate it. I hate having a phone. I wish, I'd say I'm attached to my phone. I don't think I could travel anywhere without my phone. I wish I could just throw it against a wall and it breaks, and I just never have to touch it. I think it's hard I think in this society to not have a phone, especially as young girls, if we went out clubbing without a phone it's stupid of us really. But I think I definitely wish we grew up, well I personally wish I grew up a little back in the day when the phones weren't as, like people had them, but they weren't your life. Or I wish I had the resistance to not be like, Oh, let me just check my phone. Let me see who just like texted me that notification you get and that urge to just grab your phone and see who it is. I wish I didn't have that.
I'm really conscious of often the language that we all use is pretty dualistic, meaning it's binary and the moment you turn 18, older generations, my generation people might go you've now turned from a girl, a young woman, young woman into a woman. I don't know whether that's patronising or not. But if we can just hold that thought, what is it like for most of your cohort? So not just you two, what do you observe amongst young women of your age as they lean into some pretty challenging aspects of living.
I think there are a lot of norms out there in society, and it does I'd say it does restrict us a bit of how we feel going into society. I feel like as young I mean, at least I feel like I see a big issue with people finding individuality. People aren't, people are scared to do, I think people also don't know who they are yet. I don't think any teenager really knows who they are but I think especially as girls were all put into this kind of, same as boys, there's a lot of stereotypes in all, where you live, like race, gender. You are put into a category. And I think it is hard for people to step outside and be like, What am I actually when I'm not a girl, 18 year old, who am I? What I'm very sick of hearing, I was in an interview the other day is, you have so many opportunities as a woman, you are advantaged because you're a woman, and I'm like, what does that have anything to do this interview for one? For two, why? What's the point, why not just see someone for their attributes and what they can give to whatever? Why based them on a gender? That just annoys me a little bit.
I find that interesting, Sammy, that you said that. I'm going to guess, perhaps because of the bias against women, that there is more proactivity towards bias for them and that's perhaps why it is. But what I'm hearing you say is, despite that, you kind of go that's not who I am, I'm not defined by that.
Yes, we're definitely better with gender equality. We're not there yet, but it also doesn't need to be like, we're so lucky. It's not like you're so lucky being a girl now. Doesn't need to be brought up every five seconds.
Does it feel like that?
Yes it's like, in subtle ways, in subtle ways. Not all, it can be implicit or explicit, but it's hard to really just get the right words to describe it. It's basically by saying that and mentioning inequality, stuff like that, you're just bringing, not more awareness to it, because obviously that's a good thing, but it's more like it's called a sort of a bias in itself.
Yes it is, you're right. So I'm really interested in if you're willing to share, what do you observe about the boys? Because I read a really scary stat. I don't know what the stat for girls but I read a really scary stat that one in seven men 15 to 49 in Australia will take their life? That's extraordinary. What are you observing amongst boys of your age, with the sort of question I've asked about career and adventure and what's life got to hold, and any thoughts on that?
I think especially in the northern beaches, I mean everyone's privileged, but there's a lot of sort of boys club locker room mentality, every day, everywhere.
In front of you, or does it go underground just amongst them?
I think it's a bit of both. In front of us is probably not as bad as behind our backs. I mean, I'm sure as a boy, you probably said some things you regret as a teenager we all say it. But I think boys, especially our age walk through life and out of school with a real sense of entitlement, like they're entitled. Especially in parts of northern beaches there's a lot more privilege and that's very evident.
More than you think girls do?
Yes, I feel like because I think especially there's also a lot of old boys, private schools. And they definitely teach a lot of things that make them leave with an entitled presence that they're entitled to things. When we were out the other day, these group of boys were like, What school do you go to, a public school? And then they're like, they gave that face? And I was like, Okay, well, just because you go to a private school doesn't make you any better than me.
And what's your view on obviously, there's a section or a percentage of society that are on the scale, they're choosing neither end? How do you see that play out with those challenges that both at one end girls face and at the other end boy face? What about that are in the middle somewhere?
I think they are more discriminated against than women because they don't fit somewhere. So it's hard, I think also people are slowly getting educated but there's a lot of unknown, and that scares humans not knowing is terrifying. So if there's a someone, you're applying for a job, and they're like, I use they/them pronouns, they're like, Oh, it's a bit of a hassle, we'll just not, I think definitely. I also think back on to the issue of mental health and stuff like that, I know that a lot of girls do seek more help going to therapy and things like that because, but I know personally guys are more, they suppress everything, I think and that sucks. Obviously, I don't know, because I'm not male. but what I've seen is that they're very more, they just push it down. And it's like, they don't feel like they can talk to anyone about it. That's what I've seen personally. I feel like we're still in the society like mentality, boys shouldn't cry as much as we say, boys should cry. Even people, if you see a boy cry everyone's like, not people wouldn't, explicitly be like, he's weak, but everyone's a bit like, Oh what happened, that sucks. And I think people still think it's weak to reach out and it's also overwhelming, it's terrifying. Especially if you grew up in a household that doesn't talk about mental health or that sort of thing.
As you are leaving this institution called school, and you're not bound by lessons at eight and home by four, and that sort of thing and you start to engage with other adults of all ranges and sizes and generations. Can you tell maybe some people in my generation, what advice would you have for us, as you look ahead into that space of, look at all those mums and dads, as you would call us that you see, you shouldn't have done this, you should have done this. And I know it's judgmental, but I'm just interested from your view as an 18 year old looking out at the expanse of here's what's possible, what do you observe and what advice do you have for some of the oldies like us?
Care for the environment. I think that's a big one. Like we're depleting our World faster than we know it. I also think people need to look at themselves and work on themselves before anything else as much. Even if you have kids, you have people you need to look after, you're only subconsciously passing on negative traits to them, even if you're trying to love them, care for them. You need to sort yourself because a lot of people's issues come from parents or carers or people they've looked up to and grown up with, I mean, children are very malleable. So we all need to look inside. And just focus, not focus on your child, but let them grow and also care for them. Obviously every parent cares for their child but when their own child problems like their child trauma gets pushed onto the new generation, it's just a cycle. And if you don't resolve that, it's just going to be never ending.
And Evie your point around, we should work on ourselves for the benefit of others. What aspect of some of the older generations do you see need the most work?
I don't know, I feel like people are uncomfortable with seeing their flaws. Me included. Everyone finds it difficult to be told what they're bad at. And I don't know, I feel like just really getting to know yourself, your good and bad can help others and taking care of yourself in more ways than just like getting a takeaway, that's not really self care. Like meditating or reading a book. Communication comes a lot into that, if you don't communicate, especially with your child, nothing's going to get resolved. It's just communication is key.
Evie you said earlier on that, even as young 18 year olds, I don't know who I am. Do you think anyone does?
No. I think everyone, I think there's so much to a human no one can ever truly, I mean, you know yourself more than anyone else does, but there's always more you more depth you can get to you can go deeper, you always can. And what is life Dad? We're on a floating rock, there's so many questions for everything.
I'm going to pick up on that Evie because obviously, hearing us discuss over dinner and you've used that phrase many times and I've written about it in one of my weekly Whispers blogs. It gives you perspective about on this spinning floating rock. Can you just explain to the listeners what and how you use it.
I think it just makes me realise in a good way how insignificant I am. And my issues my worries, the world will keep spinning and like we're on a rock that floats in the atmosphere like that is crazy in itself, my maths test, like what does that have on gravity.
Well the mathematicians would probably say quite a lot.
Yes, it just puts everything into perspective and brings me back to where I am.
I've got one more question. I'm going to ask you some quickfire questions. Now that you're out of school, you finished your HSC, the whole world in front of you, what are you most looking forward to?
Well, experiences in general, but probably meeting people. Because I feel like when you meet someone, they also bring knowledge and experiences and memories, laughter, fun like meeting, I'm only 18 I've only met people really on the beaches, a bit from England but I've seen nothing I've met no one, it's exciting. And just making your own decisions. I think that's very important for me, being raised in a household where everything was decided for me. So I think that's being able to have that freedom, that selection, it's just, it's exciting and scary. Because now I have to make all the decisions.
I've read that your generation, I don't know how true it is, but you're the generation that will go out and on a Saturday protest against some right of something but be scared to call up and make an appointment at the doctor.
Yes, that's definitely me. I'm terrified to pick up, even calling the dentist, I'm terrified.
What's that about?
I don't know. Because I've yell at someone on the street if they're rude to me or my friends, but if someone gave me the wrong order, I would take it. I'm not questioning that. I don't want to, I want to ruin their day.
That's too funny. Sammy and Evie, thank you so much for those insights. I'm going to finish with three or four quickfire questions and I'll, just give me your first answer that comes to your head. Are you more sunrise or sunset?
More wine or beer?
Cruisers! Are you more mango or guava cruisers?
If you could attempt any profession you've ever seen, which one would you attempt?
Would I be good at it? Or would I have to just attempt it? Surgeon or going into space, what's that called, astronaut? That would be awesome.
Okay. Sum up your life story in one word so far.
Short, I'm only only little. Uneventful.
Okay cool and then final question. What's one of your hopes for yourself for the future?
To be happy. Success.
Cool. I think those have been great answers. Thank you both very much for a pretty off the cuff and random conversation, it's been great talking to you both. Thank you very much.