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ARTICLE| Patience and peer pressure

I am a woman aged twenty-six and in my generation’s world of high speed this and fast track that, I get impatient with the pace of my journey at times. Expectations are higher much earlier now. What was common place to have achieved at 40 barely cuts it at 30 these days. Why wasn’t I a prodigy at 7, a billionaire at 21? -We ask ourselves. There was a hilariously morbid article I read on thoughtcatalog a while ago about the quarter life crisis phenomenon which is prevalent with my generation – generation Y a.k.a The Millennials (born between early 1980s and the early 2000s) . The authors main point was that having a quarter life crisis is self -indulgent crap borne from our unjustifiable sense of entitlement.

Who can blame us though, with the suffocating level of ‘sharing’ that is now common place through social media. It can be a task just avoiding feeling inadequate when ‘A’ has posted photos of your dream holiday on Facebook, ‘B’ has announced attaining your dream job on twitter and ‘C’ is flaunting the body you’ve dieted/exercised for and failed to achieve for years.

Peer pressure has a new face and you don’t have to be 12 years old in the wrong sort of clothes or 17 turning down a suspicious pill to be susceptible to it. There will always be people close to us that make more progress than we do at a speedier pace. One of my favourite bits of Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata is this

‘If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself’

We can get jealous – the kind of healthy jealousy that motivates us to do better or a bitter jealousy that drives us to achieve by all means whether immoral or illegal. We just need grace to make something positive out of situations like that.

Whenever I catch myself comparing myself to someone else . My internal monologue goes something like this.

His/Her gifts are not my gifts. His/Her time isn’t my time. I don’t know what price they have paid or will pay for what they have and if what they have is worth that to me. However, my time will come one day with better timing than I could ever have anticipated. As I don’t have that persons gifts, they also could never have the unique combination of abilities I have and make the kind of contribution to the world that I will.

‘The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.  If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened.  But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.’ Friedrich Nietzsche

A balance must be struck however, between patience and a kind of resigned dormancy – laziness, if you will. Your dream job won’t come bounding through the gates into your bedroom whilst you’re watching Game of Thrones in beer stained pyjamas  for the fourth day in a row. We have to find what our purpose is, work hard at achieving it and stand firm when it doesn’t all fall into place in 2 minutes

 

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