Under Pressure

March 29, 2012 at 7:09 am | Posted in Life and Living | Leave a comment
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It is the impetus behind so many of our decisions and actions, even an underlying cause for the creation of this blog.  Pressure.  We all feel it.  The phrase “no pressure” is typically thrown around as a joke for a reason.  Pressure is all around us, whether we admit it or not.

Growing up, all you really hear about is peer pressure and the impacts it has on the decisions of young people.  “If Johnny jumps off a bridge, would you too?” is a favorite line of parents for generations for a reason.  Social media has taken peer pressure to a whole new level — if someone you know is doing it, maybe you should check it out, too.

But beyond peer pressure are other forms of pressure.  Whether or not your parents or other adults that you look up to know it, by showing you the way, by instilling their values in you, they are creating an atmosphere of pressure.  You want to make your parents proud, so you work hard. You want your parents’ attention, so you act out.  Pressure can work in both ways.  Maybe if you act like them, they will be proud of you.  Maybe if you get a good job or give them grandchildren, they will be proud. You don’t want to disappoint them.

And then there’s the pressure of reality. Of time. Deadlines.  You’re not getting any younger.  Why is time moving so fast?  Have I accomplished what I wanted to?  Will I ever get to do the things I didn’t get to yet?  Am I making the right decisions, or am I making rash decisions because I feel like time is running out?

Is time running out?  Just saying that makes me feel like I’m in a game, like life runs on a really big hourglass.  But the reality is that society has defined stages of one’s life, leaving very little room for error.  What if I change my mind?  Is it going to throw off the timer?

I commend those who stare pressure in the face and say “screw you”.  Those who say, “just because everyone is doing it doesn’t mean it it right for me.” It is not easy to go against the tide.  But the truth is that we are all unique.  We are living longer, having children later, starting over again and again.  Society is shifting.  Marriage is not the norm anymore.  Life is becoming more individualized, more personal.  And yet, it is the human condition that we still compete, still want to be part of something with others.

So the pressure will always remain, but if we stay true to ourselves, listen to our real wants and not what is expected of us, take risks, know what matters to each of us individually, the pressure can be used as a tool to help us achieve what we really want.

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