I've been spending more and more time lately taking photos, reading, and singing- but a lot less time doing homework. I'm under the impression that there are two different sides to me: one that is academically ambitious and one that is creatively ambitious, but the two never exist at the same time. When I'm creatively ambitious, like now, I can't sit down and look at a math assignment for more than thirty seconds without being anxious and needing to turn on some music. It sounds like being lazy or being unable to concentrate, and it might be, except that I'm actually motivated to go take photos and do other artsy activities. It feels amazing to be so eager to create something expressive, and I'll never understand people who don't incorporate any form of creativity into their lives.
It makes me wonder, though, if an artistic career would be intellectually stimulating enough for me. I don't have the patience to sit and draw unless it's an assignment in class, and even after the longest time of being artistic, I always return to the more studious version of myself. There are times when I'm just as inspired by a couple hours of math homework as I am by a poetic song, despite how different the two are. I'm glad that I understand my necessity for creative and academic balance in my life, but how does that help me figure out what interests to pursue?
I hate to say that it's not logical for me to keep a balance throughout my life. Doing so would be constructing a boundary for my future before I even get a chance to experience it, and the people who set boundaries for themselves are the ones who end up following them for the rest of their lives. There are people in the world who have figured out their lives so completely, people who have figured out how to sustain their lifestyles without compromising their interests, and I want that! I just don't think that it's all that easy to achieve, otherwise everyone would be doing it. Instead, Jane Q. Public normally gives up her passion of playing the guitar in favor of a cubical in a corporate occupation. She does it because she needs security, and anyone who says they don't need security of some sort is lying. The trick then becomes finding security in an unorthodox way.
American capitalism, I believe, rewards two types of people: the game player and the game changer. The game player is a person who learns the exact workings of the system and uses it to their advantage. This person completes all their homework in school, performs to a standard, and grows up running straight into the familiar arms of corporate America. They will succeed because the corporate system is fun for them; it's a game but it's also their lives. The second person who benefits from capitalism is the game changer. The game changer is that idyllic American entrepreneur, the innovator who found a glitch in the system when no one was looking. Once they've succeeded, they become the model for emulation, but the irony is that their copycats can't succeed since their idea was only a success based on its uniqueness.
The rest of us in America, who aren't the game player or the game changer, are either lost in the illusion that we don't need to play into the system or that we can succeed by finding a way to be unique. A unique idea isn't half as effective when it's thought up in an attempt to be unique, and therefore is likely to fail, and deviating from the system without being definitively unique is even less effective.
Look at all the nice boundaries I've just set for myself! If I'm not unique then I won't succeed unless I play to the system. I know that it isn't true; I know that it's obscure, illogical, and unforgiving, but there's a part of me that buys into it despite myself. There are very few people in the world that don't buy into it at least a little. The philosophy of the American dream is the reason that students run themselves into the ground to get into college, why people give up their passions to pursue a more "realistic" life while others fail miserably in desperation to find a passion and be an individual.
Sorry if that's a horribly pessimistic note to end this on. I get cynical as hell when school is stressing me out, and finals are just around the corner. Maybe all teenage philosophies about life are fueled by the inability to enjoy life under so much school stress. Probably not, I'm pretty sure schools didn't used to be so goddamn competitive and teenagers still had pessimistic philosophies about life. I don't actually think that my life philosophies are all that pessimistic, I think they're just an attempt to understand the unsatisfactory paths I could take and figure out how to avoid them.