Let’s face it, your twenties are hard. Being launched into the “real world” without a safety net is one of the scariest journeys you’ve had to make. And, if you’ve read a blog or scrolled through Twitter lately, you know that it’s especially hard for F.G.K.s—former gifted kids. Chances are, you know a former gifted kid. Heck, you may even be one yourself! If you’re not sure, don’t worry. We’ll break it down for you with eleven signs that you’re a former gifted kid. (No. 4 will shock you!)
11. You peaked in grade school.
Peaking early is common among former gifted kids. Feeling like your best days are behind you can lead to anxiety and stress. It’s not your fault you crushed fourth grade!
10. You feel burned out.
You’re still young, but you already worry that you have nothing left to give. “Bust out the video games, and bring ’em to me. I’m staying in bed all day.” —a former gifted kid (wow!)
9. You were told you were special.
Maybe you were told that you were a great reader. Maybe you were called a “math whiz.” Maybe you were approached by a centuries-old wizard who said that you were the Chosen One, destined to protect the Eight Realms from unspeakable evil. Uh, hello? Has anyone heard of “kids being kids”?!
8. You had too much pressure put on you.
“Bring home the A+, Matt!” “Ace the test, Lucy!” “Study the mystic arts to stop the Night Phoenix from destroying us all, Dylan! He devoured your parents and he’ll come back for you, too!” Let’s check ourselves before we say these things to kids again, O.K.?
7. You failed to live up to expectations.
Let me guess. You weren’t a doctor by age twelve? You couldn’t cast the concealment charm to ward off the death reapers from that village? You did your best! Self-love is key.
6. You wish you could relive your childhood.
Thing is, you can’t. Because you suck at time spells. It’s one of the reasons the Master gave up on you so quickly. It doesn’t matter if his new apprentice is already summoning paradragons. The most you can do is open a void in between your Rite Aid shifts and scream, “Fuck Spencer!” into it. “Fuck you, you twelve-year-old, dragon-summoning fuck!”
5. You have migraines.
That’s gifted-kid burnout for ya! Or maybe that’s just your mind link with the Night Phoenix. (If you’re teleported to a dark, shrieking bog, you’re definitely a former gifted kid, LOL.) Just ignore the bad dreams and go back to smoking elf weed.
4. You’re highly introverted.
Do you refuse to make plans? Do you shoot down all the mail falcons with your crossbow? Maybe you even cast an invisibility spell on your door to avoid guests. Knock, knock—guess someone got around the spell! But you don’t care. You’re gonna ignore it anywa—Knock, knock! Who the hell?
3. You don’t want to help others.
Classic former-gifted-kid problem. Master’s current apprentice comes to your door asking for help, and you don’t want to lend a hand. Even if he says the fate of the Eight Realms depends on it. Whatever. You’re not gonna go out of your way to help some twelve-year-old fuck. Sorry, Spencer! Light this blunt with your dragonfire and maybe grow some chest hair on your way out.
2. You experience emotional swings.
What do you mean, Master is dead? How is that possi—he’s supposed to be immortal. If you’re a former gifted kid, chances are, this news will rock your world. But it doesn’t matter. It’s not up to you to help some kid with his dumbass virgin quest. Besides, you’re not master material anyway. [Hits elf-weed blunt.]
1. You learn that being special is a choice.
Sooo Spencer’s a little prick. He’s going off about how you were “never the Chosen One.” How he heard you were a “crap apprentice” and “couldn’t do time spells for shit.” Wow. Future burnout alert! But then Spencer gets quiet. He opens a portal and stares into your soul. He tells you that maybe you were never special. But maybe you can be. Maybe you can help him save a world that he still cares about. Why? Because he believes in you. Not the who you were, but the who you might become. Your breath catches. You look into his eyes. You glance at the crossbow on your wall. You grab your cloak. You step through the portal. You choose yourself. ♦
This is drawn from“Naked in the Rideshare: Stories of Gross Miscalculations.”