Look around you. Earth, December 2016. Millions of people on this planet are stressed out and depressed, even though they have their basic physical needs met. I am not talking about rural poverty or refugees, but rather the university students, the lawyers, the teachers, the moms and dads, the working class, the middle class and the upper class. Why?
Is it too bold to say that society is manufacturing a generation of depressed people? I do not think so at all. In the present day and age, there is so much pressure to compete with other people, to be “perfect” and to push our body and mind to the brink. It has become the norm to be a "tryhard".
If we do not have a four year college plan, if we never publish our book, if we do not land a job after college -- the public secretly calls us a failure. No one will praise you for your passion if it does not bring a net monetary benefit to society. This is the ideology of the 21st century.
But it was not always so. In the past, people were very content by the little things they had. There was not such a huge ambition to surpass the world’s expectations and outperform the generation before you. These standards range from how much you earn to how big your social circle is to having a bikini body.
Is humankind really improving? Or is it rather that, while on the surface we seem to be progressing as a race, on the inside we are slowly being consumed by our own ambitions?
I have been raised by the world to believe that I have to go to the best college, get hired by a big company, and make my family and country proud. I am looked down upon if I am content with the present. I am called lazy if I do not push myself to be more successful than I was the day before. But is being content necessarily a wrong thing? To live life simply and not have to deal with the stress and depression that all these successful people have to suffer from in the darkest hour of the night?
To me, all the money and recognition in the world is not worth shit in comparison to just being happy. But this is a mentality that is at best deemed “exotic” or “spiritual” by society, and more often than not ridiculed and debased. As a result, there are even times when I find myself switching back and forth between what my heart really believes and what society has raised me to believe.
“He’s just a painter. He’s not going to make it in life.”
“Son, remember that soccer is just a sport. You’re not going to be famous so focus on studying.”
This is my open letter to society: What you know is that the soccer player does not care about fame because he cares about his passion. And that artist will make it further in life than you try to brainwash people into thinking, simply because he defines the meaning of his life differently from you.
There are so many things more important than success, and in everything you do, a different kind of success can be found. Living your life to the fullest does not have to mean getting a top paying job or being recognized for your work. Do not do things because they make money. Make money so that you can do the things you want to do. Stop being a public puppet. Stop working for society; make society work for you.
You are worth so much more than how productive or successful you are. You deserve to be as carefree as the wind, to be proud of your little passions, and to be happy with yourself. I am still looking for my own passion. Yet I know so very clearly that the moment I find my passion, I am hopping on the first plane and graduating myself from all the preparation work I am doing now for this future. Not a future of office cubicles and flirting with politicians, but a future of limitless possibilities, and of freedom.
Lastly, we all know that study meme that goes: Stand up. Stretch. Take a walk. Go to the airport. Get on a plane. Never come back. Well, let me tell you, it is not just a study tip. It is a life tip. Your life is worth that much and more. Carpe Diem. These two words are society's greatest enemy and your greatest weapon. Do not let society rob it from you. Instead wield it, be fearless, and live.
Go have fucking fun. Life is so short and the world is so big.