We are the future. We are young adults caught between finding the perfect flip cup strategy and discovering our prospective careers. We study every day to become the next surgeons, lawyers, teachers and business professionals, and we spend our weekends in cramped apartments and dingy bars.
We are pushing our limits, transforming our dreams into realities. The question, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” is becoming all too real, and the future is a short few years ahead of us.
But we are currently caught between the future of being completely independent and the past where we constantly rely on teachers, parents and friends.
And as this moment of independence clashes with dependence, our generation finds itself torn between sides. Some people wish to be surrounded with support, asking people for their opinions, and slowly piecing together their path. And then some people are fiercely independent, wishing to support themselves without assistance, spend time alone, and focus on their goals and ambitions.
The tragic reality for those independent souls is that their self-reliance is often mistaken for being selfish. Their internal walls protecting their emotions are viewed as harsh barricades when in reality, it is just helping them create their tunnel vision toward their goals. They care about themselves and are strong alone, but that does not mean they will not help another person in need.
“Some people just enjoy being alone.” -- Emmitt Wheatley
Independence often looks like isolation, and people don’t understand that sometimes you don't need to be surrounded by people to be happy. When people choose to stay in instead of go out every weekend, they are ostracized and considering lame or not exciting. But in reality, they just don’t need the thrill of large crowds to be content.
“Our self-worth should not be measured by the amount of likes we get.” -- Allison Targonski
Being independent also means not allowing negative people to guide your life. It means not being concerned with what people think or say about you because you are confident in who you are and the direction in which you are headed. It is taking the bad days in stride, and not having to bring down everyone around you. You have the strength to be yourself regardless of whether it pleases those around you.
“Sometimes people have bad days and want to unload expecting it to feel better, and the truth is it probably won’t.” -- Trenton Safford
Perhaps the most important aspect of independence is having the confidence to chase your dreams without fear of doubt. It is not worrying about the people you may upset because you know if they try and stop you, they weren’t meant to be in your life. This alone looks selfish because you are placing your dreams above others, but in reality, it is what makes you happy that matters. Although independence allows you to focus on your goals, you still care about those around you. You don’t place yourself above others, but you don’t let anyone stop you from getting where you want to be. If someone gets upset watching you make progress towards your dreams, perhaps they are too busy being jealous of you to take the steps toward their own goals.
“Even if that makes someone upset for awhile, it’s your life. I mean people should be happy for you that you know what you’re doing with your life, not saying that you’re selfish because they don’t have theirs together” -- SA Lucas Pendroy
Ultimately, being independent is risky business as a young adult. You are trying to take steps forward, but there will always be people trying to pull you backward. They will ask you why you are alone, why you are so closed off, and why you’re doing this or that. Being independent does not mean placing yourself above others or not thinking about the impact of your actions, but rather being okay with being alone and having the confidence to go forward with your dreams despite the criticism of others.
Independence is going to come sooner or later, so we might as well embrace it.