Those of you who have read my articles before know that I have previously written about perfection. I have written about the exhausting process of chasing perfection. I have written about the dire mental and emotional consequences of striving for an unattainable ideal. Because we are a society that idolizes, that places certain people on pedestals and treats every situation, even criminal cases, with a certain degree of nepotism. We base a person's worth off of how they look, how athletic they are, or even how much they have achieved by the time they graduate. Because our society is this way we are faced with a constant and dauntingly unrealistic delusion that perfection is completely achievable.
Pressure is something we all feel every day. It is one of the most widely felt human experiences. It leaves us confused and powerless because we are constantly debating which pressures are significant enough to succumb to. Peer pressure, career pressure, academic pressure, relationship pressure. In college, we all feel an enormous amount of pressure. Usually, we categorize this pressure under school and work, fondly dubbing it "figuring out what the hell I want to do with my life."
One of the greatest misconceptions about going to college is that college is the place we go once we figure out what we want to do with our lives. On the contrary, college is the place we go to figure out what we want to do with our lives.
We are constantly told that knowing exactly what we want to do is absolutely essential to surviving as an adult. And when we were kids it definitely seemed as though every adult around us had it completely figured out. As we continue to get older, though, and feel the anxieties so closely associated with adulthood, do we look around and see the majority of people who have it figured out? No, not really. And between us and what we define to be "adults" (graduated, mid-20's-30s) they're what? Like 10, maybe even 5 years older? Do we really expect that anxiety to just vanish after we graduate?
So I challenge the idea that being an adult means having everything figured out and I am calling for an elimination of the idea that we are expected to have everything figured out by the time we graduate. There are people in their 50s who go back to school. Who change careers. My dad still talks about his dreams of being an astronaut even having worked in medical audio visual installations for 25 years. My friend's mom just told me today that she didn't know she wanted to be a radiologist until she was 37 years old.
I challenge everyone to silence the constant noise as best they can. To strive to meet standards set for yourself and by yourself, rather than by others. To understand that the "what do you want to be when you grow up?" question never actually goes away. It is for this reason that I warn those chasing perfection to proceed with caution. Because on a journey toward perfection, failure is a constant companion.