“Do this, be that. Think this, shun that. Go to school for 30 years so you can go on to getting a job where you make a TON OF MONEY, because that’s the only way you’ll be happy. Follow the rules. Be cool, but don’t be too different, other wise you’re considered weird. OH, and most importantly, always remember that NOBODY LIKES ANCHOVIES ON THEIR PIZZA! OK? There, now you have everything you need to be successful. Right?”
OK folks. Let’s talk societal standards and why it’s engraved into each and every one of our brains to actually give a damn. My name is Stevie Jackson, and I have shit to say.
I’ll start off by saying I freaking love anchovies on my pizza. THERE I SAID IT. THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG. SUE ME. I know that half of you readers just did an audible “ew” right? Well…Except for my dad (Hi dad).
One day in my recent adventures, I found myself at the liquor store buying some wine (shocker). As I was checking out, the person at the register asked me what I do for a living. I informed him that I’m an aspiring actress building a career in the performing arts. He replied “oh…well, not everyone can be a doctor”.
*insert voice track* “OH NO HE DIDN’T”
Now, I could have replied with what would have given a nice little wake up call concerning the extreme lack in social graces our new friend here seemed to have. Instead, I replied “double bag that please, It would be a tragedy if I happened to drop my wine. Thanks and enjoy your day!” And I left! I just left. I left puzzled, but as usual when I come across these situations, perpetually un-shocked. However, It got me thinking about what led to that exact moment. What in the heck entitled this man to so casually inform me that I have not risen to the standard “American Dream” everyone speaks of? In this single statement, it’s so evident how immensely one’s ideology of living a successful life is shaped from the minute they’re born to the minute they die by the pressures of societal expectations.
First, I want you all to ask your self what really is success? Is it money? Is it getting married and having kids? Is it having a job that everyone wants but only few get? What is it? Take a minute to really think about this question. It’s a hard one.
*One minute later* 😉
Now that you have contemplated the meaning of life for 60 seconds, back to my words of wisdom. If I’m correct, you probably didn’t come up with a very specific answer. Well, I have a little secret for you. That’s because there isn’t one. OK, so what do we do in 2017 when we don’t know the answer to something? We google it… obviously. So I googled it… as one would. Google defines success as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” That seems pretty generic to me. Now, this statement makes it seem pretty obvious that success is absolutely subjective, right? I mean, technically, waking up to a new day in good health is successful isn’t it? According to the google definition it is. And, I would certainly think so because we’re not really going to accomplish much without that happening now are we… Anyway! Yes, success is subjective. It’s influenced by our own personal twang as I like to say. Personal tastes, beliefs, opinions, and passions. Scientifically speaking, since I read somewhere that society is all about science these days (*insert laugh here* because this was a poor attempt at a joke) we all have different DNA making us completely different personalities with different thinking patterns (OMG WHO KNEW). So HI, HELLO! Success absolutely can not, and should not, be defined by a singular set of rules! It is not an “if/ then” situation. There is no general formula to achieve success for all. It is not as black and white as what society and the media has framed it out to be. If you are feeling unsuccessful, chances are you’re doing just fine! You are right where you are meant to be at this moment in your life. There are many different levels of success and different ways you can be successful. Money, which is what the average person seems to associate success with, does not equal happiness and certainly does not equal success. Don’t get me wrong, money helps for sure in terms of stability, but that’s not the point.
Everyone has different purposes in this world. Different passions, different goals. Different ways to feel like a success. It’s exactly what makes us beautiful as a human race. And, I feel like we know that, all of us! But, we constantly catch ourselves comparing our quality of life to others as the sole dependant of all the wrong things. Because of this, you might even end up asking yourself questions like “do I make good money?” “I see people so happy with great jobs, should I be doing something else?” “Oh my, another engagement, they’re doing life right… shit I’m single AF.” Or, my personal favorite, “when their family goes to red lobster, their kids don’t even have to order off the KIDS MEAL?! Damn… they’re successful…” According to the guy at the liquor store, there must be a doctor in that family huh? Maybe so, but maybe not.
Now please don’t take these “doctor” references the wrong way, I am simply using it as a symbol and referring back to my first story I began this with. There are so many amazing people who dedicate numerous years of their lives to become a doctor and go on to saving thousands of lives. Some will marry happily, some go on to have kids, and some will even achieve that true American dream by finalizing it with a dog named Max. And, I bet that’s exactly what makes them happy, that’s awesome! I’m by no means degrading that, but I am saying that lifestyle isn’t for everyone! It’s all good! Lets bring to light, that success is doing whatever makes us happy at the end of the day. Maybe someone else wants to backpack around the world and figure things out as they go, that’s amazing too! Maybe some have no idea what the heck they’re doing with their lives, that doesn’t mean they’re unsuccessful at all, they can take all the time they need! And maybe, just maybe, someone wants to be a self employed starving actress and run a blog in her own time while enjoying a nice glass of wine! Ohhhh that sounds nifty (*insert laugh here* because that was another poor attempt at a joke.)
To wrap all this up, stop giving a damn about societies thoughts on success. If you wake up to a new day, and you go through the day doing what you love to do to, you’re successful. If you can go to sleep at night, still breathing, you’re successful. If you’re surrounded by people who make you a genuinely happy person, then gosh darn it, you are SUCCESSFUL! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Now, get off of the internet and go make some money, stop wasting your time. Go make something of yourself. Jeez. (*Insert laugh and roaring applause* because that was my third and FINAL poor attempt at a joke.)
Thanks for reading if you made it all the way to the end, SUCCESS!
P.S. everyone please stop judging anchovies on pizza HAHA.
No but really…