Finding the right path in life is an extremely difficult task as practicality, emotions, and finances intertwine. Humans are taught that we must follow a journey that will lead to happiness, high-level positions, and economic success while simultaneously developing a true understanding of the self. Accomplishing all of these is not always possible, however, they often do not fall into an equal balance. Success and happiness are defined in many different experiences, but society places importance on an absolute definition that isn’t attainable for everyone.
The stress of these decisions falls directly onto high school and college students as they struggle to become the future of today's expectations. To examine these expectations further, I reached out to a current senior, who is trying to discover the path that is meant for her. Georgia Sims is an avid music lover who has been contemplating the conflicts between the head and the heart when deciding what to pursue in life. As music has always been a grounding aspect of her life that she developed from her family, it’s becoming difficult to look at the reality of the music industry and how its practicality doesn’t align with societal norms.
Georgia and I first began our conversation by focusing on the importance of balance. Balancing work and social life is becoming more and more demanding as the stressful culture is dominating school and work environments. Finding a way to ensure that both needs are met can be a daunting task and society is providing no support. A balanced lifestyle needs to be reinvented into an ideal of achieving whatever is healthiest for a person at the moment. It’s taking time to socialize with others, but stepping away when your energy is spent. Georgia continued to remind me, however, that starting anew is a perfect starting point when finding a balance that works for each person. By looking at each day and experience as a new chance to balance the options, one can begin to find solace in the possibilities of a balanced life.
Another way Georgia described finding a balance is through her creative outlet of music. Watching as Georgia’s eyes lit up, she explained to me the way she has discovered a grounding practice in playing music. As guided movement and silent meditation are common grounding techniques to focus on the self, many are beginning to look to art forms for a similar purpose. With coloring, painting, dance, and, in Georgia's case, music as relaxing practices, finding a reprieve from society’s expectations becomes much more attainable. This idea is being applied everywhere as therapy clinics have been using art classes for self-reflection and are beginning to find ways to similarly incorporate music. Georgia summed it up best as she explained that to her playing music is when “you forget about time, you forget about yourself, and you're just playing”. To her, however, music is much deeper.
When I asked Georgia about where her musical identity comes from, she described the influences she received from her parents. With her dad entering the Portland rock scene with his band in the '90s, she has grown up understanding the deeply rooted passion he holds. Georgia radiates a similar passion for alternative rock and indie pop in her band as she described her love for the "poetry of lyrics and […] how you can understand your emotions in a different way," continuing to emphasis how "it feels supernatural." While talking with her, it became undoubtedly clear the love for music she embraces. It becomes easy for many to perceive musical endeavors as a simple hobby rather than a passion. Especially, with her father who had to take a step back from the music scene to ensure financial stability for his family, it becomes the case for many musicians as societal standards often prevent passion from becoming reality. Georgia foresees the same future for herself, as she looks towards college with music on the back burner.
For her, however, looking at music as a career would take away everything she loves about it as the expanding pressure would add stress to her grounding escape. She is excited about a career outside of the music industry and pursuing something beyond the shadows of others. Challenging the expectations of others, Georgia reminds me of the power of holding onto passions. Looking into the future is a terrifying concept, but by centering oneself, rather than societal expectations, people can find the balance that is necessary for them.
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