Pursuit of Happiness Pursuit of Happiness

The Buffet

By D.S.

I regretfully indulged in a fantasy of being born with all the academic knowledge of a 12 grader, so I could then obsess over playing piano instead of stress over American history and derivatives. Since I would already know basic math and writing principles by kindergarten, I’m studying calculus by 8th grade and any English class for me is a breeze, school from then on is a pastime and an opportunity to socialize. I now have time to simultaneously practice the art of music, compete in swim, play tennis, and join numerous clubs. By the time I’m already in college, my Spanish is perfect and my French is mediocre, but that’s okay because the money I saved from my job as a tutor, I would have splurged on a summer trip to France. All these achievements could have been completed if only I had the upper hand in school. Now, my problem is not how school was time consuming for me, but how I had always deemed my mismanagement of time a loss. In a day and age where people can tell their life stories all over the world, my life would pale in existence to those who brag about their amazing life experiences and profit from them though YouTube. I became desperate and jealous. How do humans like me do it? How does Beyoncé do it? Does Beyoncé have more hours in the day than everyone else? Probably not, but it’s rather hard to not compare accomplishments to others who have been living just as long. I’m not mad at Beyoncé, but I’m mad at younger me for measuring up to “better” experiences, friends, and talents.

My mom once told me that being too ambitious was “muy malo”, but in my mind, I disagreed because I’m a firm believer in have having high expectations for oneself. But, imagining scenarios of what life could have been is toxic. Trust me, I and the people who discourage themselves know. Instead, we should find ways to realistically improve. Jealousy and envy are just emotional traps that will leave you bitter and angry. One analogy I read and like to keep in the back of my head is the following:

You go to a party with a buffet. The tables are brimming with foods of all cultures, colors, and flavors. An awfully impressive selection of meats, salads, tacos, pastas, sushi, and seafood. And the dessert table is even more exciting, stacked with exotic treats unfamiliar to you. There are fruits arranged into intricate bouquets coupled with a chocolate fountain to dip those same treats and fruits. All the mouthwatering food is blindingly arranged into a mosaic of edible explosions of flavor. All ready to be devoured by the hungry guests at this overcrowded party. But as you impatiently wait in line, you can’t help but cut ahead of people to reach this enticing mosaic of food. You overstock your plate with the worry that the food will run out, shoving people out of the way to get to the tacos before they run out and dipping an embarrassing number of treats so you don’t miss any of the imported goodness.

But as you sit at your table, fully satisfied with all the food you hogged and ate, you realize that the buffet remains abundant with food. You now feel remorse for being so rude to the other party guests by cutting in front of them. Maybe if you had recognized that at this buffet the food would be in abundance, you would have waited your turn because you knew a plate of food would be there for you. It’s the concept of a crowded buffet that creates this feeling of worry because we see one ahead on the buffet line already getting to the tacos you wanted for yourself! Moral of the story? Life is no race. So, what I would tell my past self for fantasizing a tennis-playing trilingual child prodigy… STOP! This analogy is specifically for those who trap themselves with negative feelings against those who get are getting their delicious portion of life. If my fantasy of a child prodigy had become real I would indefinitely be different person, and it’s scary to think what other problems I would be dealing with under all those elusive accomplishments. Beyoncé has had her downs, but I don’t see her complaining. I see her working and doing! That’s why I plan to go abroad soon to better my language skills. It just so happens to be that a reality like that would come later in my life.

Of course, if one does desire the food of others, have patience because you’re ultimately in line for a reason, right?

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