Your Mission for 2018: Be Yourself
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Student Life

Your Mission for 2018: Be Yourself

There's one simple thing I'd like to see today's generation do in 2018.

Your Mission for 2018: Be Yourself

2018. Another year, another 12 months, another 365 days, another 8,760 hours, another 525,600 minutes. In fact, you're using a few of those precious allotted 525,600 minutes to read my article right now. I appreciate that. So I want to make it worth your while by bringing an old thought into your head, just repackaged for the times.

You can make 2018 the year you discover yourself.

Again, it's an old thought. I've seen it on many a Pinterest wall and poster. It's been driven into our heads for years, but something makes me think it hasn't been entirely understood, like a song or hymn you hear as a child but never understand until adulthood. I get the sense that many of today's youth don't have a sense of individual identity; rather, they subscribe to the same interests, thought processes, language patterns, music tastes, and personal drive (or lack thereof).

Doubtless, the same could be said of previous generations, but I think the generation currently in high school/college is the one that experiences a lack of unique identity in an enhanced way. This difference is the constant virtual presence of peers, through both a distant view of their life via shared content as well as the unnaturally high frequency of communication with others, irrespective of the depth of what's being said.

As a result, members of this generation are being deprived of solitude, which is the breeding ground of original thought and genuine emotions, contemplation about life and expression through art. It is outstanding what kind of real character development can take place when one sits alone for any length of time. And I mean genuinely alone. No phone, no laptop.

While the children of the 80's may have all dressed the same and used the same lingo, at the end of the day they still went to bed and had to be alone with their thoughts for some time before they fell asleep. And the same in the 70's and 60's and 50's.

While each generation has had their share of problems to tackle, it is no wonder to me that clinically diagnosed rates of depression have skyrocketed at roughly the same time as the novelties of the smartphone and social media began to gain traction.

I think this generation needs to get in touch with themselves, in the most genuine sense of the phrase. They need to shrug the group identity which constantly shrouds their perception of the world and of themselves, and actually understand who they are as individuals.

If you feel like this resonates with you at all, if you feel that you don't fully realize who you are as a person, then I have some suggestions for you. If you have a free evening or even just a couple of hours, put your phone on airplane mode and go out to a park by yourself. Or a museum. Or some unexplored corner of your town or city. Or just a walk in your neighborhood without the spectral presence of everyone you know staring back at you through the pale light of your cell phone screen.

Listen to music you've never listened to before. Explore new genres, albums, artists. Break beyond your usual routine of playlists or artists, go to an explore section on your music app, or, god forbid, go to a music store. Go to the library and find one book that even mildly piques your interest. Let your socially unhampered self roam, it doesn't matter for how long.

All this being said, it is your life at the end of the day. I don't stand to gain anything by telling you to do any of this, I'm not even getting paid. Though ultimately, what I'd like to see is a generation who doesn't find their identity in a few lines of code that comprise their Instagram profile or how many fire emojis they see next to their Snapchat messages, but in themselves. So how do you want to spend your 525,600 minutes?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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