Why you should give up

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When we’re kids we hear the same messages on repeat: “You can be anything you want to be!” “Reach for the stars!” “Never give up on your dreams!” It’s a lovely sentiment, obviously. No one wants to tell a kid that statistically they’ll probably fail and end up living a perfectly average life, after all. But should we really be filling the next generation with unrealistic fantasies until they burst from the pressure of unrealized dreams? 

Let’s face it, that cute kid you met at your last family reunion may boast of presidential aspirations but she’s never going to end up in office. There are about a million dominoes that need to fall into place for that to happen and unless she gets insanely lucky it’s just not gonna happen. And you could nod your head and agree with her lofty ambitions but what happens then? She’ll grow up believing in her own inflated sense of self-importance, aiming for a goal that she can never achieve and leading her to a life of misery and disappointment. It’s better to lower expectations early: all that awaits her is a cushy but unfulfilling corporate office job and she should start getting used to that fact of life. 

But this is not nearly as bad as the head-in-the-clouds world of kids aspiring to be artists. At least a kid who dreams of being President will end up contributing to society in some meaningful way, even if it’s millions of miles away from the White House. The only thing a failed artist contributes to society is weird experimental theater with puppets made from used q-tips. Every year more and more kids waste thousands and thousands of dollars on college tuition for an art degree that will get them absolutely nowhere. All because somewhere along the line they were told never to give up. If we squashed those dreams when they were only macaroni art and folded paper picture books then we would spare everyone a whole lot of trouble. 

But what if it’s already too late? You’re already dead-set on your dreams and nothing anyone will say can get you to stray from your path. While the final decision on your life is ultimately up to you, it may be worth it to consider giving up. There’s a stigma around the phrase “giving up.” But what if you’re not giving up your dreams but instead giving up the dead weight that’s been dragging you down and keeping you from a perfectly content life. For the vast majority of people, so-called “big dreams” lead only to crushing disappointment. Why live your life hoping for the impossible? You could achieve everything you dream of if you just dream a little smaller. 

And why do you think that you deserve a special life anyway? Are you really so much better than everyone else with regular, unremarkable lives? Only a select few ever get to live out these outlandish dreams and let’s be honest, if it was going to happen for you, it would’ve already. So just face it. You’re not going to Harvard, you’re not making it on the Supreme Court, and you’re not going to win an Oscar. Take my advice and just give up. You’ll find your life is much easier when you’re no longer shackled to the ties of your once great dreams. 

Anna Davis is a senior at Washington High School and she grew up in Fremont, California. This is her first year writing for The Hatchet and she hopes to cover topics such as student culture and art. She is the president of the Creative Writing Club. She is also the Technical Coordinator for the Performing Arts Club and has stage managed multiple productions for the club. She hopes to one day become a professional author but until then she wants to study creative writing, history, or sociology in college.

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