This I Believe

Caitlin - Livingston, New Jersey
Entered on November 23, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

This I Believe

Idea for a movie: Girl stands at the meeting of three corridors. She glances to the left…to the right…then straight ahead. There’s a sign—the black kind with white stick-on letters. Pan down; it says, “Ask a Rockstar,” and there’s an arrow pointing right. Girl turns and walks down the right-side corridor, comes to a door, opens it and steps inside. There’s a guy sitting on a couch. He’s wearing dark sunglasses, a fur coat and leather pants. He has orange hair, tattoos and a bass guitar across his lap. Girl stops, hesitates, then asks,

“How do I know that what I’m doing is right?”

Rockstar inhales, opens his mouth and the screen explodes with stock footage of famous concert crowds screaming in adulation. Young girls rushing the Beatles, hippies writhing for Hendrix, fans fainting for Madonna, New Kids on the Block, U2…

Fade back to our Girl looking confused, the Rockstar smiling and nodding. “But,” she starts, “Most people never get that kind of affirmation…”

Rockstar raises his eyebrows and shrugs.

I believe that rock stars are not real people. Neither are movie stars or celebutantes. I don’t think it’s a smart idea to look to rock stars and their ilk for guidance or inspiration because I’m not entirely convinced that they fully share in the uncertainty and dejection inherent to the basic human experience.

It makes me sad that we pay attention to the actions and opinions of the Kate Mosses and Paris Hiltons of this world when their circumstances are so different from our own. Wouldn’t it be nice if our role models were friendly co-workers who embodied work/life balance? Or if we took our inspiration from a helpful neighbour who consistently made sound financial investments?

Sometimes I wish that our life choices could be easier and more prescribed—like it was a thousand years ago when most of us were landless serfs. For instance, in a few months I’m moving to another country—to the U.K., actually. It’s something I’ve been dreaming about and planning for a long time. I’m happy and excited and nervous…and I’m also really conflicted. You get a little older, graduate college, enter your mid-twenties, and all of sudden you’re hit with some major life dilemmas. You have to choose things like career paths, partners, countries—all with limited information. How do you know you’re making the right choice? Usually you don’t.

Unlike rock stars, we normal people don’t have thousands of fans squealing their approval, making us feel loved and appreciated, telling us that what we’ve done—whatever it was—is right, fair and good. Most people can’t expect love and confirmation from thronging multitudes. We must be content with what we have–the quieter (though no less powerful) support of our friends, family and, most importantly, ourselves. Very slowly, I’m learning to be my own groupie. Right now, I’m screaming my name as loud as I can, and hoping that what I’m doing is right.