I was one of those elementary school hot shots. I walked into the classroom confident; thinking I was better than most of the other first graders. That’s what my mom said. I had to be at the top. OR ELSE. Admittedly, I wasn’t the best. There were always two more kids in my class who had parents with higher expectations. I always, always came in third.
Truthfully, when I was young, I thought I was a prodigy. I came into high school at 11 years old. I had already performed broadways solos on stage when I was 5 (I wasn’t any good but I did it anyway). Basically, I grew up thinking I was special. Who can really blame parents for wanting their kids to think they’re special? You make this human inside of you and you raise it and you think it’s the greatest human ever created cause it’s your DNA.
Well, my fellow Millennial children, cover your ears if you don’t want to get hurt. You’re not special. Okay, maybe a few of you are. There are probably a few Steve Jobs’ and Simone Biles’ but you, reading this right now. You’re not. Don’t worry, I’m not either.
We are a generation taught to shoot for the stars, reach for the sky, anything that involves being able to get on the level of heavenly bodies. Yes, it’s a euphemism (exaggeration?) but it’s also something that children take seriously. Sky’s the limit, we say. Is it, though?
We want to make a difference in the world. An enormous difference that we’re probably never gonna make. I, a frustrated writer, wanted to write my first book before I turned 13. 13 passed then I wanted to finish it by the time I turned 18. I’m 20 now and I haven’t gotten passed the fifth chapter of any book I’ve attempted to write. I compare myself to Mary Shelley who started writing Frankenstein when she was 19. And I look at myself disappointed because I’m older than the girl who wrote Frankenstein, a book that lived throughout so many generations, and I haven’t gotten anything I’ve written published.
See that’s the dangerous thing about thinking that you’re special, you end up being disappointed in yourself and thinking you’re a failure. I learned recently thought that I am not a failure, I’m ordinary. That shouldn’t be a bad thing. I learn at a normal pace. I write at a normal pace. I haven’t written symphonies or written timeless novels. Or broken any world records, and that’s okay.
You see, we see success as something that is directly attributed to fame and recognition. It’s not that though. I think that if you become a person who contributes to society in a positive way, you can be successful. To be honest, telling myself that I’m not special isn’t going to stop me from thinking that I’m meant for something great, something more. That’s just the way I’m wired. And if I don’t get to become that great person, I’d be disappointed, yes, but I think that spending your whole life trying to achieve something extraordinary for others is already special.