Sometimes, I wish I was a bird. Sometimes, I wish I was skinnier. Sometimes, I wish I was nobody and somebody else all at once.
People decide who they want to be by looking at other people. In society, those who are above us are our standards. If someone has a job that pays $100,000 while ours only pays $50,000, we want to be that person, or at least have their job. If someone has a gorgeous partner and we don’t have one at all, we wish we were that person. If someone has something that we crave but cannot have, we envy that person.
It’s like that in high school. We wish that we had high grades or perfect SAT scores, or were our teachers’ favorites or the most popular of our student body. We see those who get accepted into prestigious colleges – yes, I’m guilty of this – and align our ideals to what they have achieved. Even the most basic psychological principles of social learning support this – we are so absorbed in others and what we find appealing about them that we forget the things that we have or the things that they might not.
Today, I was staying after school to work on my math test corrections (derivatives, anyone?) and one of my friends jokingly said “Thomas, I wish I was you!” – I think they meant, I wish my grades were high as yours, or something along those lines. Which is funny, because
my grades kind of suck right now this person is also quite bright. Anyway, I noted his statement and proceeded with my work, not knowing how I would reflect upon it later.
Then, I got home. Something happened involving my family, and I got terribly depressed. I had serious studying to do, but all I wanted to do was sit down and watch the clouds stroll across the sky. I wanted to be a bird.
And I remember thinking, most saliently: see, this is why you don’t wish you were me. I didn’t really think of it as directed to that one person, but to my peers in general. Some see my above average grades, my decent test scores, and think that these things comprise my character and life completely.
But they don’t. No one has a perfect life. Some people may fight bigger battles than others, but there is always someone fighting a bigger battle than you. There are beautiful people who are broken, rich people who have nothing of value, and people who have everything but nothing at all.
I’m still learning this. I see other people’s parents who push them but don’t break them, and I feel a tinge of envy. I read about how other teens go to high schools that are accepting of everyone and there is little to no hate, and I wish I went to that high school. I look at birds fly anywhere they want to, unrestrained, with nothing but their own weight dragging them down – and I wonder what it feels like, to be that bird.
But my life is the life I’ve been given. My situation – with all of the good and the bad and the in-between – is the hand I’ve been dealt. There’s no point in wishing I was someone else, when there is so much I can do with who I am. I know what I’m capable of, and I know how much hard work I can put in.
And I know that I will fly, too.
So, another dear-diary type post… please tell me if you are getting sick of these! This one, like most of my most recent ones, have been spontaneous and sort of stress-relievers but not entirely. Has anyone else gone through the whole envy/jealousy thing?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like some creepy stalker who watches people constantly and wishes I was them… well, maybe I would stalk someone if they had unlimited access to all the novels I would ever want to read. On that uncomfortable note, I’m going to go study for my AP US History exam that will take place in less than 48 hours. Wish me luck!