Can you spot the casually successful teen?

Casually Successful: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Millions in Scholarship Money, and Pick-Up with Obama

I suck. Err, that’s what my Facebook tells me every time I scroll down my newsfeed. It’s a deceptive trick, and I know it. Most people post stuff on their wall to brag, to point out their shiny, new thing. I like knowing about it. It’s nice to see what is happening in someone’s life, the direction their life taking, and their worth as determined by the college’s acceptance rate. And as much as I enjoy it, the more my self worth plummets because I did not get into a prestigious institution with a hefty scholarship or be a recipient for a national award or much less do anything because I was on Facebook reading about those posts. I am constantly scrolling down my newsfeed that it will be a miracle if I ever amount to anything. Or pass my chemistry class.

Don’t do it, they say, it’ll make you miserable and you’ll be a trapped in a volcano where all you smell are sweaty socks you’re too lazy to wash because the washing machine broke last Tuesday. Metaphorically speaking. I have no experience with being in a volcano with sweaty socks. All the ones I know of did their laundry on Monday before their washing machine retaliated. But I am able to understand that situation in a figurative way, no, in wait, why does it smell like feet in here and oh my god is that lava on the walls kinda way. It dawns on me that this is basically how my life is existing: me, under a volcano, with sweaty socks, and a broken washing machine.

The ‘it’ I was referring to before I got carried away by my analogy was, comparing. Don’t compare yourself to others. I know not to do it, but with Facebook at my disposal these days, it’s incredibly easy to measure myself against the plethora of successful teenagers. And they are giants. I walk by them everyday on my way to class, and see them acting like regular teenagers: laughing, flirting, cramming, and whatever the youth do today. But on Facebook, where they post the many accolades of their life, I scroll down making the occasional guttural noise from yours truly.

Jealousy wouldn’t be the word to describe my feelings, envy would begin to head in the right direction because I understand the hard work that they dedicated, the sacrifices they chose, and it paid off for them. I can applaud their efforts. But still in the tiny, dark crevice of my mind I’m wondering why not me. Where did our paths diverge that we no longer can walk the same path? Amongst the hours I spent splurging on Netflix, refreshing my newsfeed, and thinking of a witty caption for my Instagram, I knew where our stark differences were rooted: action.

No one would say “no” to helping the homeless or saving an abandoned puppy because if she were to she would be the cruelest villain, even crueler than refusing to fix a leaky spout especially when all the repair materials are under the sink. Generally, everyone wants to help, but the thing is not many people do. And that’s how the teenage success stories start. They took action while I sent nothing but a couple of good-natured thoughts. The last time I checked, thoughts don’t save puppies or feed the homeless. Words and action do. And maybe it’s time I start my teenage success story by getting involved today.