One of the, if not the, greatest challenges of coming into age is keeping the flame burning. The older we get, the more our passions slowly fade and take a backseat for more, supposedly, significant affairs. The likes of getting a stable 9–5 job that most likely is limited to the confines of a cubicle; a nice house and car (both of which bought under a loan); achieving a regular paycheck; and an ever-growing number of offsprings are only some of the few things that we’ve made our culture of as defining success. It is this illusion of traditional success that claims primacy in our collective consciousness.
It is then no wonder why we suffer from a scarcity of groundbreaking visionaries in our country, because we’ve made sure that no one disobeys the template. The template that seeks to pacify any aspiring troublemaker and dream-chaser, the template that judges one based on their qualification on society’s often superficial standards rather than meaningful and profound passions; the template written by others for you.
And if one does choose to subscribe to this template, no one can blame them. Other than the societal pressure of keeping in line, it is the crippling weight of one’s dreams that often discourages the wide-eyed apprentices of Don Quixote to charge against adversity. The constant self-criticism of not living up to your potential and, thus, now qualifies you to be an alleged failure.
It is this constant and suffocating need of becoming that prompts us to suffer in our adult lives, most especially with social media amplifying such demons through constant comparisons with others — courtesy of their well curated lives shown on their respective profiles. The fact of the matter is: we are living in an age of unprecedented mass insecurity. We have sacrificed living a life of passion and authenticity and traded it for social validation and non-disruption.
Do not get me wrong though, there is merit in striving for a stable life: financial independence and social security are necessary aspects of maturity that one has to sport. However, it is only when we define ourselves by these standards imposed by the whims others that we start eroding our potential for living a purposeful life.
However, just because this is how we’ve conducted our lives for the longest of times does not mean that it is what it should be. We must protest against this pessimism by living the life we ought to rather than the life dictated by others. We must regain our lives back from the tyranny of external suspicion and internal doubt. Yes, we’ll weather through storms and even fall sometimes during this campaign of self-growth, but it is precisely this storm that we’ll come out the better man.
While yes, passions do change and often evolve, do not however mistake this phenomenon for substituting it with a life of constant social paranoia. Please, do whatever you can to live a life of purposeful authenticity that you yourself chose (and nobody else) — we only have but one life. Climb mountains, write poetries, and play the piano keys if you have to. You owe it to yourself to be happy. Just remember: There is honor in the road less travelled.