If I was to be honest, I have always been hesitant to write an opinion piece or a post on a real life issue on my blog as everyone has their own opinions and stepping on other people’s toes is very easy, even if it wasn’t the intention. However I have decided to share my thoughts on what today’s society seems to me and of course some will agree while others will disagree, but I believe this is a positive thing when we can communicate diverse opinions.
I remember being in high school I always had the same opinion towards society’s structure and expectations and felt very strongly about it. One particular assignment was in my English class, we were assigned literature in which we then had to do a presentation on and the book assigned was ‘In the Wild’ by Jon Krakauer. The non-fiction novel followed the story of Christopher McCandless who abandoned his life in society and lived in Alaska’s wilderness. His purpose for this was because he hated the norms of society and the structure in which we are expected to form our own lives around and therefore he uprooted and got away. I remember my entire class focused their presentation in a position that disagreed with Christopher’s decision however I had a strong feeling that was in support with his decision and a level of understanding.
Around this time in high school, aged 12 was the point where I felt the most strongly towards society structure and expectations as a restricting and negative way to live ones life. I will be honest and say now I do have a slightly different outlook and as I am now older, I do realize that the people in society today do seem to take a stronger stance within their own life decisions and I will explain why but first, my views as a 12 year old…
In my mind, we were born, we hopefully all had safe and happy childhoods with our family and making friends and then we are immediately put into societies norms and structure. Therefore we are put into kindergarten, then middle school, high school, then for the most of us we will go to College or University, get a degree, find a job and work towards a career, get married, have children and our entire life is motivated and organized around earning money and supporting our families. For me, thinking and trying to understand this was so depressing and restrictive and I instantly would want to go against this structure and expectation, either it be “I am not getting married and having kids,” “I am not solely going to work everyday 9-5 to just make money and pay bills,” “I am going to get little side jobs that make me happy and use that money to travel and do things that make me happy.” Of course this is positive thinking and for a 12 year old, it was thoughtful thinking and could quite possibly be the start of my passion for living life in a way that portrays happiness. I also think this thinking of a 12 year old is an eye opener, as this was my instant perspective of society and that people’s lives are formed following societal expectations and around money. Doesn’t that just sound awful?
Now lets skip to a 20 year old thoughts…
Some thoughts remain the same or are very similar but I think for different reasons as now that I am older, I see new struggles within life. I mostly still feel there is restrictiveness to the complete freedom in which we choose to live our lives, as there are still expectations and norms we must follow, but now the restriction is more so a financial struggle. Again this does relate to money still being a large motive or objective in ones life but has moved away from the routine or structure of people having to marry and have children as there is a clear shift in family structure in today’s society. The focus is not totally on the need to have children but it is more of a choice. If I choose to not marry and have children, yes this may still be viewed as not normal or frowned upon, but it is more accepted in today’s society and in my 20 year old head, that makes me feel better. Not because I do not want kids or to get married, but because I feel I have a little more control of my own life and can make my own decision whereas before it didn’t seem to be. As I mentioned, the struggle now is making a living and being satisfied. In order to live any life that may be of interest to me, I need money. Travel means money, nice apartment means money, purchasing things that make me happy is money. Money is a huge influencer to the structure and our future life and today competition is very much a thing. We have to compete to get a degree that will get us a good enough job, then if we are lucky and get a great job, we have to compete to make our way up the ladder to avoid being let go or seem any less worthy compared to our coworkers. Why is it all a competition nowadays to achieve what? Money.
So I sit here and think, was the restrictions my 12 year old mind thought about better or worse than the restrictions my 20 year old mind thinks about? As much good as there is in the world, and believe me there is a lot, but there is also negatives and this feeling of restriction and lacking control over my own life has been a long term thought that stays in the back of my mind. Let me know if you reading this have had similar thoughts or may just want to share your opinion. 🙂