If you don’t know the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, by John Hughes, then you know what’s on your to-do list. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, who asked me about some films that I liked when I randomly talked about this one. Later on, I told him that I would skip class on Monday morning. He smiled and said: ‘Oh, got it. You’re gonna do your Ferris Bueller.’
Ferris Bueller is a young man who fakes being ill to skip class for a whole day. During that time, he is going to take his best friend and his girlfriend on a series of adventures, each of them more hilarious and beautiful than the precedent one.
Now, maybe the reason why I am seeing wisdom in this is because I am a female version of Ferris Bueller myself. I think there’s something unique in this teenage-like impulse and vibrant energy. Skipping class once in a while to go on explorations and mess around? Sounds perfectly fine to me. And actually brilliant and fun. Who wants to play by the rules all the time anyway? Our existence is short, yet carefully set up for us: timetables, acceptable behaviours, relationships, career, etc. This dictates how we are supposed to spend our time, and how, and when, and with who.
So the Ferris Bueller in me is about to give you perfectly unreasonable advice.
As soon as I arrived at College I started to skip classes. Within three years, I had managed to invent a list of excuses for my absences longer than my arm. I had explored all the forbidden parts of the school and I would imitate my friends’ parents signature so they could be excused and skip class with me. We would explore the city, go to abandoned spots, shoot short films and find a way to get in places or assist to events that we thought out of reach – and how bloody fun that was.
At prom, my friends and I had done a series of pranks in our College, before climbing on our the roofs in our dresses and suits. The whole staff of the school ran after us in the corridors that night, rang the alarm, and I remember being at the head of our crew, dazzled by adrenaline and running like my life depended on it, before coming face-to-face with the Head Master. I was feeling invincible when I laughed and declared: ‘College is over anyway, so there’s nothing you can do.’ The Head Master laughed with me and admitted that he had never seen such a thing in his whole career. Results? No one was hurt, and it is one of my best memories.
Those little pranks and days-off I was giving to myself kept going during my whole University degree. Although I thought that those needs of escaping places and refusing to fulfil an exhaustive list of obligations would go away by getting into film school, I was surprised to find that it didn’t. Because my freedom – and need for space and thrill – is a necessity to my well-being and health. Yours should be as well, no matter how you picture it. We all have different freedoms and ways to express them.
Although structure can be good. Besides, Ferris Bueller skipped classes nine times a semester, not two times a week. Education and career are important. Still, if you want to break free sometimes and do something fun or just soothingly enjoyable with your day, just do it. You should be the one deciding on which terms you agree and the ones you do not.
Don’t feel constrained to put down your signature below each part of the heavy contracts that are given to us by society.
This life is yours.
Hermione Granger learned the rules by heart before she broke them. Here’s a smart way of doing it. Also, you are in your full right to ask for smart adjustments and other possible agreements. (I am taking examples on fictional characters, but look up to anyone you admire in life, and you’ll see that they might have the same mindsets patterns.)
So to hell the 9 to 5, or if you have no other choice, which is perfectly understandable, create your own spaces of freedom. They matter. Maybe more than anything else.
Home-tube-work-tube-home? Very not likely to be for me. And if it may happen sometimes, I know I’ll step out from it for a moment with a Ferris Bueller kind of sass and fun.
Allow yourself to do the same. I mean, what would really happen if you did?
John Hughes’ film opens and closes itself on this quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
If this isn’t wisdom, then, I don’t know what that is.