I am presently reading a book that my younger sister and brother asked me to read called “The Giver,” written by Lois Lowry. It reminds of a young Huxley before “A Brave New World.” The story is fundamentally the same. A utopian society, bothered by a riff of mis-intelligence, someone catches on, must suffer through pain due to truth. The whole story is told in order that one might question themselves as to why they follow rules established by the civil “norm”.
Don’t think this applies to you? Well it does. Have you ever wanted to follow the career choice that you think would fit you best and then looked at how much they make and decided against it? Ever known that you didn’t want to go to college but to please your parents or those around you, you went? Do you feel pressure to graduate high school by at least 18, college by no later than 23, married by 25, kids by 28, etc. etc. That my friend is the invisible hand of society pressuring you to keep up with those around you, and I must tell you in advance it is futile.
I say screw the system, do what you think is best. Ever heard the saying “keeping up with the Jones’s”? Well the Jones’s are over their head in debt, their marriage is disintegrating, and the kids are being taught that material possessions supersede happiness in inter-personal relationships (and they will soon become apart of this cycle when they grow up!)
One of the biggest accomplishments of my life is helping my friend Amanda realize that the only reason she was in dentistry is because of the paycheck, she wasn’t happy about what she was doing for the rest of her life but she thought she could sacrifice that for a Luxury Sports 4x4 car and a white picket fence. After our multiple discussions she dropped out of dentistry school and is now going to the University of Florida and majoring in stain glass art, something she has loved to do her entire life.
Realize that it is not the size of your bank account that will hold you close on your death bed, it is those you love, the friends you have made, and the memories of a fulfilled and happy life that will make these days complete.
Need more to read on this topic? Read “Veronica decides to die,” by Paulo Coelho.