Anticipation of the future grows inside us like a weed in the spring. The sassiest of our generation have been rolling our eyes for years when parents come to us with the "when I was your age" statements because we all agree that the expectations 20, 30 years ago do not compare to the competitiveness of today. Enjoying the moment has turned into a conscious decision. Serendipity is closely shadowed by our routine worries and chores and assignments and deadlines and pressures. Success seems to be a clearly marked paved path, that some of us seem to be following with a blindfold over our eyes. It is time to remove the blindfold and take a different spring break.
At 16, I feel like I am barely grown up and the pressure of normality is already beginning to weigh me down. Why is it we have to live in a place where at the age of 15 we're already worrying about where we'll be at 18? I'm told 4.0 is no longer good enough. Getting 22 likes on a photo is embarrassing. Playing one sport just won't cut it. I've somehow entered into a state of thinking where I'm nostalgic for a time other than my own. Robert L. Leachy, Ph.D. reported that the average high school student's anxiety levels mirror that of a 1950's psychiatric patient. The 21st century may be driving us all mad. We've been spoon-fed the track to success and been convinced it should be the base of our food pyramid.
I think that's at the core of our problem. Everyone spends so much time worrying about what lies ahead that they don't have time to evaluate what they're pulling their hair out for. It's not just teens fearing to push boundaries but adults and media timid to overwhelm us with the weight of the world. We don't get enough credit in my opinion. As I scroll my newsfeed I'm bombarded with articles on "10 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds" and "What Men REALLY Want in a Woman." Admittedly, sometimes I will click and read the article -- it's human nature. But why is it that we can't also be interested in "10 Ways to Walk Away From Your Computer and Make a Difference in the World" or "Why Getting a B Is Not the End of Life As We Know It"?
It's become a parasite, leeching on to each of our childhoods. We need to stop feeling guilty for not bowing down to the cookie-cutter future pushed upon us. To stop the anxiety we get from ignoring our schoolwork for five minutes and breathe. I dare each of us, myself included, to indulge into happiness, maybe just one hour each day. Find something that you are passionate about. Find something in your life, your community, your world that you want to improve and challenge yourself to fix it. Step off the conveyor belt of "success," wipe the stress from your shoes and create your own path. It's time for our generation to leave the manual, "Growing Up for Dummies," behind and embark on our own journey with a touch of independence. Push boundaries, because I realize I'm not apart of the 18 and up society, but I'm about 99 percent sure we've already entered the "real world."
It's time we stop waiting for the formal invite and become independent thinkers. Don't feel silly, or worse, feel like you should be studying. Take the challenge, take that breather and indulge into spring happiness.