Today on the home page of WordPress, there was an article entitled “Peer pressure when you are 30 ++” by Paige Lucken of London, England. She detailed many of the peer pressures that she experiences as an adult, and recognized that peer pressure never really goes away (well, as long as you have peers. Which you should.). Being younger than Ms. Lucken, it was interesting to read her perspective on how things do not really change as you get older.
Because I am thirty-minus-minus rather than plus-plus, the kinds of peer pressure I have experienced are a bit different. For example, “they” (whoever “they” are) tell me that I should watch TV most nights because that’s what people my age do, I should text (boys) constantly, I shouldn’t get up very early, I should like social networking, I should subscribe to Seventeen, and I should love or hate Justin Bieber (er, “indifferent” isn’t really allowed). Not all of them are so trivial — there is also constant pressure on teenagers to get into relationships they aren’t ready for, pursue ideals that leave them empty, and strike out on their own before they have any real maturity. Even if the pressure is different, it is still there.
Ms. Lucken finished by saying that “most of the stress in my adult life is down to all those things that I should be doing!” But please tell me why, if it causes an adulthood full of stress, would one continue to listen?
Peer pressure does not need to dictate the things we do or love. It is freeing to realize that nothing is better simply because a lot of people do it, or worse because a lot of people don’t do it. Statistics and trends do not determine right or wrong. If I tried to do everything exactly the same as everyone else around me, I would have quit wearing leather oxfords because most people wear sneakers, quit eating yogurt because lots of people don’t like it, quit going to museums because some people think they’re boring. It would gain me nothing and make less of my life, not more.
Just as a suit is not tailored to anyone besides the wearer, a life should not be tailored to the “measurements” of your peers. As I have said before, there is nothing wrong with being different. You will never be able to stand on a conviction if you worry about what others think of you. You were created to be you, not “them.”
I hope that by the time I am 30++ I can honestly say that I am not concerned with what other people say I should do, but with what God says I should do. And I hope those concerns become actions rather than regrets.
(image via audreyhepburncomplex)