But I also get that it’s easier said than done.
As far back as my polytechnic graduation ceremony, I was made to believe that if life is not exceptional, it is not worth living. Being on the precipice of the ‘defining’ decade that is our 20s, we are encouraged to carpe diem and live, love, laugh.
In order to be wildly different, we must pursue passion at all costs. Instead of settling for a standard 9-to-5 job, we must be brave and go against the grain. This, we’re told by valedictorians and society, is the only way to leave our mark.
A popular quote from Jack Kerouac illustrates this idealism: “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
Unfortunately, being told we’re special (or that we should be) is one hell of a burden. It shapes the presumption that a mundane life is something to be ashamed of.
Yet the truth is that only a measly fraction of us will be leave a legacy remembered by more than just a handful of our family and friends. We are more likely to get crushed by a vending machine than to change the world.
So why do we scoff at the quintessential Singaporean who aspires to apply for a BTO flat by 26, get married by 28, and have children by 30?
Instead of seeing this as a legitimate life to aspire to, we dismiss them as CBD drones, whose career goals are to scale the next rung in their corporate ladder and earn a decent salary that allows them to indulge in travel, shopping, and good food.
In the eyes of those who mercilessly strive to be entrepreneurs, fitness gurus, philanthropists, outstanding parent, and social media celebrity all at once, settling for this Singaporean dream means opting for a life of mediocrity. It is selling out in its truest form.
Statistically speaking, however, most people are average, normal AF, and nothing special. Most people will settle—not because they’ve given up, but because such ambitions are perfectly fine and should be celebrated.
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