Who I Wish I Was

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!

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “Who I Wish I Was

  1. Good luck Thomas 🙂

    I wish I could say this changes with time, but I think it’s something we all think to some extent over the course of our lives. I’m *cough* years older than you, and I still feel this way sometimes, although I’m aware of it and all its ramifications now. But I still don’t get sick of your more introspective posts. It’s your blog, post whatever you feel like and don’t worry about the audience.

    • Thanks Ruth! And I can see that a feeling like this would not just disappear as one ages, but it’s good to be aware of it and knowledgeable of how negative it can become.

  2. I think that, for your sake, it’s great that you take the time to put together your thoughts and feelings just to get them out of your system in a constructive way. Having an outlet for things that you might feel you can’t necessarily share openly is great. Not to mention I enjoy reading your words of wisdom. 😀

    On the whole envy thing, I’ll have to say I don’t feel it often. I jokingly told my dog once that I would trade places with him because then I wouldn’t have to stress and could just sit around sleeping all day. But then I realized that, you know, I like having thumbs.

    All kidding aside, there are very few times when I get jealous. I don’t find myself jealous of people’s possessions simply because I don’t put value on many material things. That’s simply how I am. I’m not jealous of the wealthy, or people with amazing grades. I sometimes get jealous of these child geniuses, and people who are gifted in languages and music, but this is because they have the skills that I wish I could have. I’m simply too lazy to learn them (except languages, I actually try with those and I’m pretty damn good at them).

    But yes, the only time envy is acceptable, at least in my opinion, is when it’s for the good of the community. If a group of people are envious of a situation and want it to be a reality in their community, I think that is a good motivator for change. In small doses it can help people work harder. It’s harmful when it consumes your life and doesn’t allow you to live without obsessing over what you can never possibly have. (If any of this makes sense, that is).

    Also, good luck on your AP! I’m taking it, as well.

    • I see… I agree with your point about the community and how it can serve as a strong motivator to get people to improve themselves and those around them. But like most things in life this requires some sort of balance so no one becomes too obsessed, like you said.

      Deleted the last part of your comment so neither of us would get in trouble. (: I hope you did well! And I’m not surprised that you have a talent with languages, considering how entrenched you are in the K-Pop realm. (;

  3. When you say “…people who have everything, but nothing at all.” Well, that’s me. I was lucky enough to be born into a good family with an average income, was born with a naturally high IQ and have average looks, yet I’m not happy (and I’m certainly not trying to brag). I feel like there’s something missing in my life, or that I’d be better off as someone else. Yet, at the same time, I wouldn’t change who I am. These are the things that make me, well, me. And you know what? Realizing that makes me so ridiculously happy; it’s like a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders.

    A little envy is natural, but like Erika said, it’s only bad when you let it run your life. So maybe a few more introspective blog posts and some more private soul-searching will help. Trust me, you’ll be a lot happier when you accept yourself for you who are, flaws and all. It’s our flaws that make us human.

    Best of luck with your exam!

    • Yes, I feel the huge weight taken off my shoulders too, after writing this post. Your self-awareness inspires me, it’s great that you have that intrapersonal intelligence to know who you are and be content with yourself. Thanks for reading and commenting, I will definitely write more blog posts like this in the future!

  4. “…please tell me if you are getting sick of these!”

    Why?! It’s your blog! You should feel comfortable to write whatever you want to write on it.

  5. This is a really great post. I think most people in Western society have the “grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” syndrome. We always think someone has it better than us. But as you so rightly pointed – how can we judge a person without knowing their personal and inner lives? We judge other people by superficial things – grades, salary, appearance, possessions…but none of these are eternal things and can be taken away at any moment. We should look to people’s inner qualities, such as courage, patience, perseverance as our aspirations.

    • Good point, we touched upon a topic similar to the “grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side” phenomenon in my AP Psychology class. And you’re especially correct in saying that superficial things can be taken away from an individual quite easily – it goes to show how important it is to cultivate one’s inner qualities, like you said. I guess it’s more important to aspire to be like those who possess inner strengths as opposed to those who have outer material goods.

  6. Eugine

    Actually, I’m glad that you are writing these posts. Reminds me of things that I forgot, such as that there is no one whose life is perfect, as much as it looks like it on the surface. Please don’t give yourself a hard time. You are great as you are, you only have to accept it.

  7. Just came across your blog and am so impressed Thomas with your honesty about family relationships and your book reviews. This past year i have had the joys and challenges of having my 16 year old gr. daughter living with me….grand parenting I think is second chance parenting…i hope there are other adult mentors in your life that see the true you!

    • Thank you Bonnie! I’m sure you’re doing a great job with your granddaughter, and I’m lucky to have other adults in my life I can talk to like my dad, grandparents, and teachers.

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