Sail Against the Current

We spend all together too much time thinking about what we have in common with each other. Of course, the bonds which we share with others cannot be ignored; we must celebrate the bits and pieces of our individual selves that are like everyone else. We enjoy finding those who understand us, alike in action and thought. Maybe this is our downfall. Maybe, therefore, the words "in common" have become something of our own devolution; without difference, we cannot move forward in progress, we cannot think in new and exciting ways, we cannot be innovative or progressive. Why? Because we are too scared to demonstrate the fact that we have original thought. Clinging too tightly to what we have in common with the world, to what makes us the same as everyone else, to what boosts that sense of confidence in fitting in and not rocking the boat in such a way that it overturns it or creates ripples in the water. Personally, I don't like the thought of too much commonality with my peer group; it's not only difficult to remain true to one's self but people get so caught up in the tangle of "who we want to be" in a way that fits in with everyone else that we forget "who we already are" and how that makes us individual and important in our own ways. Why should we be the puzzle pieces that fit together smoothly when we are indeed just as functional and original by ourselves? That's not accounting for the fact humanity is a race that enjoys socialising with its fellow people. Isolation is not a way of living that is healthy or sustainable but in the sense of being alike with others, we cannot forget our own truths; the simple fact that each and every one of us must follow a completely new and untrodden path of life because we are all different! That doesn't mean we can't get along, be contented, find our life's value and meaning. I'm not saying that at all. Do what makes you happy and be happy but for heaven's sake, don't throw away what makes you you all for the sake of being "in common" with those who you interact with daily. It's altogether depressing to see how the world's evolved into a place where individuality has become something to be slightly mocked, or at least, a way of life that seems forgotten and deliberately downtrodden. Acting in common with its flock dilutes a sheep's sense of independence and rationality; maybe following the herd isn't always a good thing? So, instead of letting the boat remain still as you row across the water, maybe it would be better to rock it. Make waves, cause a disturbance. The world's gone stagnant but we're not on a pond; life is like a river; it flows constantly, twisting, turning. Sometimes while rowing upstream is more difficult, it is the one course of action that remains true to who you are.

by Florence Hardy, Year 12, Stroud High School Sixth Form


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