You’re right where you should be

Ah the holiday season. This is usually my favorite time of year. A perfect trinity of holidays all crammed into three months — the Harry Potter movie marathon of holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, then my birthday, let’s not talk about new years) — not to mention the colorful array of caffeinated holiday drinks.

This year, however, is not quite as wonderful as the Andy Williams classic would lead one to believe. With college applications, my 18th birthday, which happens to fall on the day my applications are due, and grappling with the course of my future…it’s feeling a little more like “blue Christmas” right now.

It’s been one identity crisis after another this year. What do I have to show for myself? It seems like as I get older, stars keep getting younger. All of the sudden preteens are singers, Youtubers, members of Mensa… it can be a little disheartening to say the least. It has lead me to constantly question myself, ‘am I past my prime?’ or ‘over the hill?’

No, because that’s ridiculous. But even if it’s not realistic, it’s about the principle, the underlying connotation in all the success of young people. It can feel like I always need to be doing something extraordinary or somehow one-upping my past self or peers. Social media places a glaring spotlight on those amazing accomplishments, priming us to compare ourselves. That sense of competition and comparison isn’t necessarily evil. It can drive us to strive for our own goals, give us something to aspire to and become a source of mutual inspiration.

However, it can also skew our perspective. It seems a little silly, but when I was younger I thought by now I would have accomplished so much more. While it’s great to have big plans and be doing big things, that’s not all there is to life. You don’t have to be a 14-year-old with chart-topping songs to be admirable and successful. There is success in the ordinary.

Doing well in school, being kind, drinking eight glasses of water everyday (maybe that’s not so ordinary)…these are all signs that you’re doing alright in life. I may not have written a novel yet, but I have years and years to do that. Everyone has a different path in life. In the grand scheme of things, I can take comfort in knowing that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. And so are you.

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