If I could go back to my 16-years-old self and give one piece of advice, it would be: “the world will never be happy; stop trying to fit in.” I was brutally bullied in school for how I looked, and I have spent the best years of my life worrying about things that weren’t in my hands. Now, when I am 22, I often think if I am repeating the same mistakes since I am now scared of leading an average life, where I compare myself with people all the time and think, “When will I have a life like that?”, killing the joy of the achievements I have made until now.
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO KNOW WHAT AN AVERAGE LIFE IS before I get into how an average life terrorises Generation Z. In the era of Instagram filters and perfect LinkedIn profiles, everyone wants something different in their lives. We look at social media profiles of others and see how good a person is doing; then we look at our lives, see no progress, and end up believing that we’re doing nothing with our lives. We all want a busy life; nobody wants to come and go, everyone wants to be remembered, and with motivational talks on YouTube where everyone is a successful tycoon at the age of 25 or less, our lives seem to be even more meaningless. I am 22 right now, and I feel I have achieved nothing. I look at my married friends who have a sorted love life, and I think, “What do I lack not to have it?” It is a feeling of hollowness. I feel like each second I am turning older, I am wasting my life away.
But, I often think, and I don’t get this fuss about being average and staying average for your entire life. We have been taught that being “extraordinary” is what it all takes to be “interesting,” and the standard is boring. As I grow older, I have started thinking otherwise. You may not be the most popular and beautiful student at your school, just like me, but you can be interesting enough because beauty and intelligence are not the only traits that make people attractive; you and I have found some reticent individuals who turn out to be the most incredible people we know, and some outgoing people boring. You may not be the most genius person alive, but that doesn’t make you any less; intelligence can’t be gained, but knowledge can be; you can always look around and find room for expertise. You might not be good at math, but you can be good at literature. You might not end up as a person giving Ted talks or interviews, but you might inspire people who pretend to not even see you. You might not experience a love like the one you see on your Instagram search feed (I feel this one personally, lol), and you might end up with someone you don’t know at all, or you have known for all your life, yet you can still get the butterflies like it is a high school love.
I am trying to say that we are not average until we start to believe it. As harsh as it may sound, not all of us can end up as superstars, supremely genius people, or famous individuals. As much as we hate to admit this, most of us will be leading average lives, average as in, we will be living a life we think is not what we’re meant to live, as in, graduating, earning, getting married, having kids and growing old with each passing day, since we have built a utopia where everyone is living a perfect life. Still, life could be extraordinary only if we learn that happiness lies in contentment. If you keep running behind everything, you won’t get time to rest and celebrate what you have accomplished already.
In one way or another, we are all going to suffer; I want us all to think and choose something worth suffering for wisely. That would be our extraordinary; we’ll be happy with our “extraordinary average.”