I was thumbing through my old senior High School yearbook this evening. I was the Editor of the yearbook so I was kind of gleaming through it thinking of ways to creatively set up layouts and to see if I’ve improved any over the years. Sadly, the answer is not much. lol.
However, I noticed something shocking. I was the president of the National Honor Society! I totally don’t remember it really. After seeing the NHS page and a picture of me giving a speech, I sort of remembered talking during a meeting. I don’t have much recollection past that. You’d think I would considering it seems like a big deal but apparently it wasn’t.
That’s the funny thing isn’t it? That things you think are so important, especially those things society projects as important can end up meaning nothing in a few years… to the point where you don’t even remember it! I don’t even think the title served me at all in terms of college applications. The schools I applied to only cared what your SAT score was.
I’m guessing I won the title by default because I wasn’t very popular in High School. It was probably one of those volunteer to do it type things where everyone else was like “meh, I can’t be bothered to deal with this silly nonsense” and I probably stepped up thinking it would help me with my college apps.
I find similarities to this thinking in my world today. All the things I used to bend over backwards for thinking “this is of value” when in truth, it has very little value. Being in the field of Architecture, my earlier career was obsessing about getting our firm’s design exposed and not just garnering jobs from the exposure but trying to aim for the prestige of it. My boss was obsessed with becoming as famous as his boss was.
About 4 years later, a billion unpaid over time work hours later, I started to question my ideals about prestige, fame, and recognition. At the end of the day, after all the hard work had been done, if all you’re doing is trying to seem important to others, how much are you really investing in yourself? We were all climbing all over each other in hopes to feel important without really realizing our lives had dwindled into nothing.
I’m not trying to say that ambition is worthless and shallow. My issue wasn’t in wanting to be somebody great, it was wanting to be more than I was for someone other than me. I needed to feel like I was important so I pushed myself to meaningless statures in society. It wasn’t so I would feel great about myself, it was so I could feel like other people thought I was great. And in the end, it nearly drove me insane.
I quit my job at the point of breaking and went on a sabbatical for a year and after many months of self-reflecting, I finally figured out what did make me feel great and what types of things in my life were worth being ambitious about… And no title or social envy and admiration can help me accomplish it. Geeze, how did I get so off topic? Anyhow, what gives me that high now is in celebrating moments of genuine connections and flourishing creative outbursts. Heeeeeeeeyah!