The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive
 

5 SURPRISING REASONS WHY NOTHING YOU DO WILL EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH

1. EVERYONE HAS DONE EVERYTHING BETTER THAN YOU

Did you know that everyone’s done everything at this point? It’s true! A cursory search of the entire history of history shows that at some time or another, people have:

  • Drawn pictures
  • Written books
  • Gone for walks
  • Eaten meals
  • Loved other people
  • Brushed their hair
  • Owned pets
  • Brushed their pets’ hair
  • Drawn pictures of their pets getting their hair brushed

And this is an incomplete list! Think of anything, literally anything! Somebody has done it! And if everybody has done everything, it stands to reason that somebody has done it better.

Remember that time you stubbed your toe? What happened after that? Did you jump around, grabbing your foot, cursing all of creation? Of course you did. That’s you in a nutshell, though, a rote, by-the-numbers toe-stubber.

Well, you’ll be surprised to know that once, somebody stubbed their toe, and instead of jumping around and screaming, they took a deep breath, and remembered all of the good things they had in their life. Then they called the people who meant most to them, and paid them all compliments. That person went on to be the president of something. The details aren’t important, but it totally happened.

Another completely true thing is that once, somebody stubbed their toe and died right there on the spot. They stubbed their toe, died, tumbled backwards through a plate glass window, fell 200 stories during which they died again, and landed in a flatbed truck of nitroglycerin which then exploded. Nobody was hurt, it looked totally awesome, and everyone agreed it was the most amazing, incredible toe-stubbing of all time.

What can we learn from these two not-at-all made-up tales? That in the past, people who have stubbed their toes have either become president, or triggered a bitchin’ blow-‘em-up.

And you just went, “Ow, God damn it, ow, ow, ow, stupid coffee-table, you’re a jerk.” This scales up to literally everything and anything you have done. Every single time, in every single way, somebody has outdone you by a country mile. How can you live up to that? The short answer is, “You can’t.” The long answer is, “Yooooooouuuuuuuu caaaaaaaaaaaannnnnn’t.”

Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well, forewarned is forearmed. The next time I stub my toe, I will run out into the street and give everyone a dollar, then everyone will have a spontaneous parade in my honor, and I will become emperor.” And while it’s good for most people to plan ahead (“Most People” =/= “You”), you should probably keep our second point in mind.

2. EVERYONE IS GOING TO DO EVERYTHING BETTER THAN YOU

Regardless of what your uncle who watches a lot of cable news and has boxes of freeze-dried casseroles in his End Times Hutch might tell you, the world is not going to end tomorrow. It’s probably going to keep on keeping on for a while, as will humanity as a whole. And that’s mostly good news. Except for you.

You see, even if you ignore the entire history of everyone doing everything better than you, and try to do anything, you’re discounting the people in the years to come who will find new and exciting ways to do everything better than you.

(DISCUSSION BREAK: Will these future people who will do everything better than you do things better than the past people who did everything better than you? Stop trying to pass the buck. End of discussion.)

Let’s say you had a very photogenic dog, and you wanted to take a picture of it. So you take a picture of your dog, and you post it on the social media outlet of your choosing. Great, whatever. But 10-500 years from now, one of these millions of young people will make the perfect dog on their 3D (Three Dog) Printer. Then, using their ocular implants, they’ll take a perfect picture of this perfect dog, and beam it directly into people’s brains. And this image will be so perfect that people will break down crying and have an entirely new definition of “Love”.

So go ahead and post that picture you didn’t take with your robot eyes on a computer that isn’t people’s minds. Just know that the second you do, the clock will start ticking, and sometime in the next 10-500 years, it will be rendered stupid. Makes everything seem kind of futile, huh? Well! Transitional sentence to Point Three!

3. IT’S ODD THAT YOU’RE DOING ANYTHING IN THE FIRST PLACE

Who told you to do anything? What, did the heavens open up, and a thousand angels on kicky Vespas ride through your living room, singing in angelic voices, “HEY WHOEVER, THE WORLD IS IN DESPERATE NEED OF YOUR UNIQUE TAKE ON WHATEVER, SO GET CRACKING TOOT SWEET, THE VERY FATE OF HUMANITY HANGS IN THE BALANCE.”

No. None of that happened. Here’s what actually happened. The Actual Devil rose from his fiery hell-condo, and while you slept, tapped you on the noggin with his Extra Pointy Dumb Ideas Trident. And you woke up with a brand new, shiny, utterly useless dumb idea in your head.

Now, you have two choices. You can pursue this idea, or you can go, “Pffft, it’s dumb and The Actual Devil put it there, so, you know, fuck that.” And then you hang out on the couch in your bathrobe and watch cable news. And then you think you should probably get some freeze-dried casseroles.

Don’t do that either, your Uncle did it way better, just go mooch off him. He’s probably expecting you, because he, like everyone in the entire world, knows exactly how things are going to shake out for you in the long run. You know who else knows? Point Four, that all-knowing vagabond.

4. EVERYONE KNOWS YOU ARE BOUND FOR FAILURE

They’re just not telling you, because you get so excited when you have a brand new, shiny, utterly useless dumb idea in your head that it’s kind of adorable.

But also your mom pays them to not tell you. Why? Who cares? Nobody, that’s who. But don’t take our word for it. Take Point “Wrap-‘Em-Up” Five’s word for it. Point Five is gonna drop serious knowledge.

Damn, Point Five.

Damn.

5. MOSTLY NOBODY CARES

It’s easy to believe that everyone cares about every single thing you do. It’s really easy to read random lists of things on the internet, and internalize every shitty thing anyone has ever opined about anything.

It’s preposterously simple to let your life be dictated by thoughts like, “People are better than me,” “Why bother,” and “Everyone thinks I’m terrible.” I do it all the time. Constantly.

But on the whole, everyone has their own lives. Everyone’s got their own dogs to take pictures of, their own toes to stub, their own Actual Devils tapping them on their own noggins. Sure, you will come up against adversity, people who want to take you down a peg. But they don’t speak for everyone. Because for the most part, everyone is busy. It’s a little terrifying when you swing from the “EVERYONE IS JUDGING ME” side of the pendulum to the “MOSTLY NOBODY CARES” side.

But there’s freedom there as well. There’s the freedom to try things, mess them up, try them again, or abandon them entirely for newer, shinier things.

And besides, you’ve got people who do care, darn it all. People who want you to succeed, people who want you to try new things, people who want to try new things with you. Listen to them. Believe them.

Your mom is paying good money for them, so you might as well take advantage of it.