I look out my window at a world full of cars, buildings and suits; the Armani’s and the Cavalli’s; the Aston’s and the Volkswagens; the Rolexes and the Tissot’s; each and every one a fancier imitation of the other.
A mere 19 years of existence seems like a lifetime with the monotony I see around me. The faces on the bus all seem to have the same tired, sullen expressions, staring at me with their identical, bored eyes. The halls in every building containing life in identical seven foot high corridors seem to be an extension of one another, never-ending, suffocating.
Everyone wants to finish first; everyone wants that tiny edge over everyone else. The problem is, thanks to our overachieving lifestyle choices and continual desires for excellence, in our attempts to be proud with humility, affluent with empathy and authoritative with magnanimity, we all pretty much touch the finish line at the same time.
When I was younger, I’d often read about the legendary Pied Piper. The man who was paid to rid the city of Hamelin of its problems eventually led the entire city to its end, pulling away the children of the city with his mesmerizing music.
Now that I’m much older, much wiser and much sadder, I see that we’re all really following our own Pied Pipers. Chasing our dreams, mesmerized by the promise of a tomorrow brighter than our brothers and sister, we race blindly through our lives, existing for tomorrow, not living for today.
Just like the story, we’re all hoping to rid our lives of our problems thanks to a future that we’ve built in the landscape of our minds. A place where, as Axel Rose puts it, “the grass is green and the girls are pretty”. This is a future that we dream of, but are not prepared for.
The thing about dreams is that they never die. They grow bigger every time you come close to realizing them. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily, except everyone’s dreams seem to be headed in the same direction.
We’re all aiming to be rich, happy, successful, powerful people in the near future. You see a bright, promising future of hopes and dreams; I see a dark era of monotony and imitated existences. Everyone is a leader or a follower, there are no individuals. Everyone wants to be an Investment banker, a lawyer, a musician, an actor, an artist or a doctor.
No one seems to want to go live on an Island; no one seems to want to invent a cocktail that rocks bartenders across the globe; no one wants to grow up and read all the classics; no one wants to be the alphabet-burping champion of the world.
Don’t dream small, dream different.
We’re not confined by society anymore. We’re not confined by the desires of our parents; we’re not confined by our financial conditions. We’re trapped in the prison of our own minds. We’re so eager to please our own sense of achievement we forget to please our sense of contentment.
It’s usually the ones that are different that are left out in the cold, and that scares us sometimes, I suppose. No one wants to be a Graffiti artist if it means they’ll spend their mid-thirties living in their parents’ basement. It’s the fear of failure; the fear that our dreams will be overshadowed by the achievements of our peers, that drives us further and further away from where we could have been and closer to where we simply ‘want’ to be.
It’s a difficult, twisted logic, but so is the whole concept of conforming to our own perception of normal.
Why can’t I eat rasgullas with chocolate sauce? Why can’t I wear beach shorts with a waistcoat? Why can’t I run along the highway in the middle of the night?
It’s when we start asking ‘why’ that a lot of the questions we might be posed with in the future start getting answered. Everyone wants a shiny golden star on the pin-board of the world next to their name. They don’t understand that there are few who care. You don’t live for that Shiny star, you live for yourself. You don’t need to shine to glow.
In a world where everyone is free to do whatever they want, people usually conform to what everyone else seems to be up to.
The Piper’s calling you to join him.