When I was a younger, I used to wear crew socks to bed when it was cold. When I would wake up, most of the time, my socks would be lost in the sheets or halfway off. But one time, they rolled themselves down into perfect little booties, and I woke up feeling like I was Peter Pan. When my socks were rolled up like that, I was on a different level than regular, boring, normal-sock-wearing me. If I was Clark Kent, my rolled up socks turned me into the Leader of the Lost Boys…or…the Prince of Poor Analogies.
I was relatively fast, but these puppies gave me that boost to be one of the fastest kids in my grade. And in mind, that was practically the whole world. I knew that there were other kids out there, and some of them were probably faster than me. But, let’s face it…probably not.
I was also pretty good at video games. I remember playing Mario Kart for Super Nintendo and I thought I was pretty good because I beat the entire game on the highest difficulty. And that arcade game Bust A Move, where two little dinosaur things are shooting bubbles at a row of bubbles or whatever and you have to pop them. I was THE shit at that game.
But my world was soooo small back then. There’s not an adjective that I can use to accurately describe the incredible difference from our perception of things when we’re younger to what they are when we’re older. I can only shake my head when I think of it. But I think that’s why we think we can be whatever we want. It’s because we have such a small sample size. I could probably be an astronaut because I have the highest grade in Science. I could probably make the NBA because I’m the best 5th grade basketball player. If I’m the one of the fastest kids in my grade, then I’m on the speedier end of like…25 kids. But that’s all you know.
One day, my older sister and I were at Castle Park and it’s basically like a miniature golf/batting cage/arcade. We finished miniature golf and were playing in the arcade, and I saw her playing Bust A Move. My sister and I used to be extremely passive-aggressive with each other and overly competitive. I don’t know if I even said anything to her, but I walked up to the machine, slipped in my quarter, and started playing against her knowing I was going to destroy her. I had my ass just HANDED to me. If you’ve ever played this game, you know how utterly helpless you can feel like you’re popping a million bubbles and somehow, you’re still losing. I don’t remember if my sister said anything to me. I just walked away, a broken little boy.
That was the first time I realized that the real world may be different than my perceived reality. When it came down to it…I was not that great.
Then I started to grow up…
Suddenly, there were kids that were way faster than me, and it didn’t matter if I had my socks rolled down or not. They were just on a different level. My Peter Pan couldn’t beat their Clark Kent. I no longer had the intelligence or drive to be an astronaut. I didn’t have the skill set to play in the NBA. I was just a slightly athletic, slightly intelligent person amongst a sea of gifted individuals.
I’ve thought what it’s like to be the best at something. There was a time when people relied on trade and specialty skills. I recently went to a museum and saw glass bowls and cups that were made in early BC that were incredibly intricate. What skill set do I have that would allow me to survive? I suck at gardening. I can’t make art or crafts. I’m definitely not into weapons, so there goes hunting. But I can enter the right keywords into Google to find an image of rolled down socks. I got that going for me…right?
For all the people who aren’t grossly over-confident, I think this struggle stays with you for a little while. There’s definitely some growing pains where you try to figure out your place in everything. I remember going out on first or second dates with girls and things just ending after that. It sucks because when you go on a date, and you try your best to be yourself, and someone is just not that into you. I think your first reaction is to think that something must be wrong with you.
But nothing is wrong with you. Some personalities just don’t mesh with other personalities. I think we all figure it out eventually. We all find our place and settle into who we are, even if it may not be 100% of who we imagined ourselves being. For some people, it may take longer than others and that’s ok. I used to compare myself to a lot of other people my age, and that’s not a good thing to do. Again…small sample size.
We’re all pretty good at something that satisfies us. I don’t know if we should settle at that, but we should definitely appreciate where we’re at and how far we’ve come.
Thanks for reading.
– The Bubble Popper