It struck me this afternoon how torn we are in life by ever conflicting advice.
The two most conflicting? For me, by far, it's the decision of whether to be the exception, or the rule.
Let's start as we mean to go on, with an honest, and perhaps blunt, reality: everyone strives for the exception.
Who wants to be normal, to have found a normal route into their career, to have just met their partner through no bout of fate nor bearing a love story so sweet it'd melt the coldest man's heart? No one. Sure, getting by or falling in to place is fine, in fact it's the reality for most, but then there's this distant hope, a glistening dream of how your life could be, if only you could reach it...
And this of course is fed to us through every aspect of our lives. The Olympic hero you look up to so greatly who overcame a diagnosis that he'd never walk again, and yet won gold the next year. The child who was told she'd never make it as an actress picking up her Oscar. The childhood sweethearts who drifted but met again at a train station and fell back in love. Our lives are saturated with seemingly unachievable aspirations that, miraculously become achievable. It's what keeps our spirits alive, it's what pushes us to become the best.
I guess what strikes me so much is why life has to be universal and why that naturally entails our being the rule. We spend our whole lives measuring ourselves against others, seeing how others live and then comparing ourselves against an invisible ratio. It's invisible because there really is no way of comparing one story to the next; we are all born into different histories, economics, and social backgrounds. Undeniably we all partake in the same activity, of being together on this earth, but we, ourselves, are unique.
This isn't about crushing someone's dreams, and I apologise profusely if that's what I have done; it's about being a realist. Maybe if we all became somewhat more realistic in our life expectations, we'd appreciate the promotion we got that little bit more, or celebrate that first we worked so hard to achieve in an essay. The time you realise your life is unique to you, will be the time you realise you're the exception to everybody else.