Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Standing Out | Why it's a Good Thing

Be it standing out from the crowd or following the herd, I've touched base on it before. I think it's an easy, almost passive thing to say to young people; "Stand out from the others". It is often said with little assurance and substantial proof of those "success" stories we are all looking out for. What is "success"? What defines or measures one person's achievements from another? Success, in all its forms is unthinkably vast, nearly unfathomable to measure, entirely.

Whether your interpretation of success is achieving your full potential as you and being happy with your lot, or the CEO of a major global firm zooming around in Mercedes and wearing unpronounceable labels, there is one main root that caused it. What's that you ask? I hate to break it to you, it isn't some farce, voodoo, witchcraft lark. These people quite simply, didn't give a flying notion about what people thought, they carried on with their regime. Once an inkling of success presents itself, everyone jumps on the bandwagon and asks what's the secret. 

If we were to sit around and lament our lives to the hymn sheet of other's expectations, we'd live in a time-lapsed, repetitive drone of "just alright", "doing okay", and "plodding along". Having said all that, it is becoming increasingly popular to have an "edge" of some kind. Although this said "edge", is morphing into a reoccurring niche; indie music, band t-shirts, a preference of tea over alcohol, and cats galore. Do not be mistaken, I am not making a mockery of people that are into these things, I for one enjoy all (minus the cats, sorry!). 

What do all these t-shirts, and music and others have in common now? They are materialistic objects, they are simply things.  (the cats are more than just things, I think we would all agree). Although, what is not as on trend to be associated with are the other important things; participating in events in your community/school, taking up a non-conventional hobby, taking an interest in politics (although the way the country currently is, I wouldn't blame you) or even starting your own blog. The reason why these (and more) are unpopular to the status quo is the fact that they are not the mainstream way of passing your time, and they are (sadly) often subjected to uninformed judgments from others.  

For anyone that knows me, there is very little "mainstream" about me, and I don't fit many boxes of people my age. This can be seen as an advantage, or an incredibly suffocating scenario, particularly during school-going years. Whether or which you may perceive it to be, I learned to embrace it. Does it make me any better than anyone else? It sure as hell doesn't, it's simply a curve-ball (or two) in how I see and understand things myself. Take for instance, the news. All down through the years, by both doing quite a lot of travelling from Mayo to Dublin as a child, and living with my parents, listening, reading and watching the news has become a part of my routine. From my early years, I would nearly be excited at the thought of long car journeys, if it meant I could listen to "Drive Time" on RTE Radio 1, or Seán Ó'Rourke. I started to form a liking towards Vincent Brown and watching Prime Time Documentaries with my mother. What is most interesting, when I think of all this; when I was younger, one of the most frequent things said to me was, "I'll be with you in a minute, I just want to check the headlines". Now, at eighteen, I find myself saying the exact same thing to people around me. 

This long-established interest is seen to be both strange and questionable by others. Similarly, my setting-up of this blog was also seen in the same light. But you see, as both a person and (aspiring) writer, my head would be spinning faster than the speed of any fancy yacht steered by any CEO. My thoughts would have no where to go and I would not be able to fine-tune my craft. Sure, I wouldn't be exposing myself to a lack of understanding that is still, to this day, to be found. But what I put to you is; who would I be doing the favour, if I didn't bite the bullet?

Between the jigs and the reels of writing here, of being sometimes apprehensive (petrified), of just doing what I do, this blog has gone through to the finals of the Irish Blog Awards for Best Youth Blog. Am I proud? Well, I'm grateful more than anything. But I am proud, because I got through the biggest hurdle of all; what people would think. (I have included a link to an interview I did recently below, if you want to hear a bit more about this!)

What I am saying to you is, do not be, for one moment of your life, hesitant of seizing opportunities with both hands that may come your way. The day you draw your last breath, you want to be able to say you lived your life whole-heartedly for you, and unapologetically for others. We are dealt with an unknown set of years, and subsidizing a single day out of those out of fear is, I think, one of the most human tragedies of all. 

Go out, do you, and live. In the meantime, you'll be doing yourself the biggest favour imaginable. 


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