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September 4, 2011 / windlessly

Empowering

It’s one thing to see and read about people achieving great things, but another thing entirely to see your peers doing things of similar merit. Age is something we relate to right away. Similarities in experiences, thought, or conditions make you feel more connected to that person, and many of those are dependent on age.

How many times have you felt awkward at a check-out line or embarrassed to see a classmate working in a clothing store? When we’re shopping, we like our cashiers to be faceless and distant. The moment there’s a personal connection, such as realizing it’s the person-you-sorta-know-from-school-because-they-sit-next-to-you-in-class-but-you-never-say-hi-to-them-in-the-hallway, you pay more attention to them and feel more self conscious. This happens even if you don’t know them personally, but they look to be about your age. Now that I’m 17, I always feel a bit weird when the cashier is younger than me, yet holding a job and telling me to “Have a nice day.”

That being said, it is much more remarkable for me to watch the U-17 Fifa World Cup than the actual World Cup, simply because the players are all my age or younger, yet playing on a world stage. When you see other people your age doing great things, you feel inspired in a way that reading about an adult doing the same thing doesn’t. That is why as a new blogger, I am particularly interested in reading blogs that other teens are maintaining. So when I stumbled across a website called MuseShark, my mind was blown. Lee Downen, the author of the blog, is 17 like myself and a senior in high school. But when I first clicked onto his website, the only thing I could do was marvel at how professional it looked. It’s a really, well set up blog, with a lot of content that interests me. So I couldn’t help but draw attention to it because that’s what it deserves.

Let me summarize: when people around your age do something awesome, you feel empowered because you feel connected in some way and there’s a small voice in side of you going, “Hey, he’s like me, a senior in high school. If he can do it, why can’t I?” Their actions alone, the fact that they accomplished something, proves that it’s possible.

Prodigies and genii are a bit too far out of reach to be inspiring. They’re awe-inducing, but not empowering. It’s the people just short of that, who exceed expectations but aren’t unreal, that command awe and respect. They’re almost within reach, but most importantly, they retain their realistic edge and human qualities. You can associate yourselves with them in some way. Lee Downen has a great blog set up that has captured a lot of attention. Because I’ve seen that it is possible, I can hope to do the same. After all, it’s good to be inspired by your peers once in a while.

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