Something I find myself doing more often than not. I go to a school where I am surrounded by girls who are effortlessly beautiful and students that are almost too successful for being younger than 25 and still in college. How can someone continue to be constantly reminded about the extra step they can take to get that better grade on their test… or land that dream internship the upcoming summer… or even the fun they could be having if they would have gone out instead of staying in, and not feel the need to compare what they’re doing to everyone else.
Life just does that to ya. In any and every situation, anyone you come in contact with influences you in a certain way. It can be small and temporary, or it can be long-term or even stick with you the rest of your life. Rather than the length of that relationship, I believe the intensity of the relationship you have with people has a much greater impact on you. The United States is historically called the “Melting Pot”- the combination of so many different cultures, races, ethnicities to make one unified country. In some ways, we are all our own Melting Pot too. Who we are is a combination of people, experiences, and moments of our lives that shape us into, well, us.
This makes us awesome. There is no one person that is like the other and we have this freedom to be our own. To have our own passions, strengths, weaknesses, experiences and hardships. To build new friendships and strengthen existing ones. We have this control to do absolutely anything in our individual way.
So, why is it typical for our first thought after we do something is to compare it to someone or something else? There is always someone out there that is doing more or better…whether they scored a little bit higher on the last midterm, have more time everyday to work out and eat healthy, or are able to continue to go out every day knowing they have class the next day (still something that I haven’t gotten the hang of). Whatever the case may be, it is so easy to take our success… but still not be satisfied with it.
The typical “School, sleep, and a social life: Choose 2” tweets seem to become more and more real everyday. There’s so much going on in our daily lives- due dates, meeting times, mandatory events… it gets to be a lot to keep straight at all times. Much of my time this year has been spent striving towards the perfect balance. I am aiming for that internal accomplishment in my head that I am completely and genuinely content in every single aspect of my life. That each and every one of my priorities is given equal time and dedication. That I am utterly comfortable with where I am and how my daily life is going.
In one of my journalism classes, we’re learning about how balance shouldn’t be the end “goal” of journalism… ultimately because not all voices deserve equal time. The time given to different outlets on a certain topic should correspond to their role on that specific topic. It’s ironic that balance isn’t the goal… that it’s sometimes okay to have bias in what’s being provided as news, simply because the bias-ness (?) can portray passion for the issue and a dedication to accuracy. In a way, it’s so that journalists don’t forget who they are on their mission to report an equal story. They lose their identity if they are stuck having to seek this balance that isn’t necessary.
Think about it this way- aren’t we, as college students, always on a search for this balance too? Between our friends, our schoolwork, phone calls to our parents… we wish for enough time in our day to put the same time to all of our priorities. But what is a perfect balance? What defines balance- especially since everyone has different priorities and how they are ranked? Do we ever accomplish this balance?
There is so much time spent trying to achieve this ideal stability, more than we even realize. However, I have came to the conclusion that this strategically-crafted, much anticipated balance does not exist. There is always something that you can be spending more time doing, someone that you should be reaching out to, somewhere that you should be. And that is okay, which is even harder to accept.
When we spend more time seeking this “content” spot in our life, we end up missing out on authentic opportunities that can lead us to stepping out of our comfort zone, which leads to personal growth that is incredibly beneficial to us and who we are. Which leads me to…
Something that shouldn’t always be a familiar state. Feeling comfortable is awesome. It’s rewarding. It’s something that you wish to have… and to achieve that comfort level in a new place, with a new friendship, or in a new activity puts our mind at a much-needed ease. An ease that we crave and long for.
However, the thing about being too used to feeling comfortable in whatever place you may be in means that there isn’t a push for being better. There isn’t a motivation to step out of that zone that you could stay in forever. When you take the initiative to try something new or do something differently than how you typically would, that exposes hard work ethic. It exemplifies a drive to want to succeed in a multitude of ways. It shows that if you receive failure as the result, than that failure you receive is okay. If your comfort level is at a point where there isn’t intimidation, than it’s time to add something new to your life that drives you to be a better version of you.
Imagine starting a new job-it’s the first day and you are looking your absolute best. You’re obviously nervous (because who isn’t when you start a new job) simply because you can’t possibly know what will be thrown at you. Some time has passed; you’re growing bonds with the people you’re working with and you can feel your confidence radiating as you accomplish more and more shifts that don’t include you asking questions every ten minutes. Even more time has passed, and you got this gig down. You understand entirely what the job entails, and being thrown curveball after curveball isn’t a common occurrence anymore. You are becoming comfortable.
It’s common for that work ethic to begin to deteriorate as you become more used to what’s going on in your life- not just some job you just got. We put more thought into what is new in our daily routines because we want to be able to do it right. This doesn’t even have to be tangible aspects like, for example, the start of a new school year… it can be with the quality of our relationships with others and how we treat ourselves and those surrounding us. It’s influential to understand the fact that being so confined in our safety net routine prevents excitement and curiosity. That although a routine is great to have, it is stopping spontaneous memories that are cherished.
Most importantly, it is vital to know that the true definition of perfect is simply made up in your head. The feeling of happiness can be nowhere near someone else’s happiness. The sense of excellence is different between any person you ask. So comparing yourself to those around you lessens the gift of individuality that we are given to utilize. Finding the picture-perfect balance that you find yourself chasing day in and day out is a never ending cycle that can potentially lead to disappointment. Feeling comfortable is a feeling that shouldn’t be sticking around for too long… that the anticipation for something new, something that isn’t a part of our routine, leads to better performance and a optimistic outlook on other events that go against our regular “norm”. Do what you enjoy, invest in what you’re passionate about, and spend time with people that help you grow and be good. Being your own individual melting pot isn’t too bad of a thing when you surround yourself with the best people- those that push you out of your box, are that helping hand, and make you pretty dang happy while you’re at it.