Somewhere between the complete innocence of childhood and the total insecurity of adolescence, we each create our own definitions of “cool”. These definitions start based on what our friends think, but over time we figure things out for ourselves. Here, Max Minshull shares ‘Some Thoughts’ about the culture of “cool”. He wonders about where we shift from just feeding on our needs to constantly fueling our desires…to buy things.
I’m 14 years old and attending my first year of high school in Palos Verdes. Where I’m from, trying to be cool is biggest deal there is. Most kids view each other by how “cool”, or “unique,” they are. But after searching for my place I’ve started to realize that trying to be cool isn’t actually living, and the people who are actually cool and are innovating and don’t give really care.
I think one of the downfalls of capitalism is that it influences people to change who they are in order to take part in the trends of the current time. All people have a primal urge to be a part of something, so naturally these marketing campaigns work, as they say, “hey, you need ____, because that’s the latest technology and will make you rip like Dane or jump like Jordan.
Looking around, it seems like everybody is a slave to trends in some sense, some more than others, but no one is immune. People in my generation seem particularly stuck in this cycle and view every new product as vital to their existence. But if you really look at what humans need, all it amounts to are a couple pounds of food a day, shelter, 6 feet to lie in, and a sense of meaning (selflessness and religion come to mind).
I’m starting to realize that moderation is the true key to “coolness.” When I purchase some thing I’m starting to think of its importance and remembering what matters to me. This kind of thinking is scary. I fear being ridiculed, and alone. But I try to remember whose opinion matters most, my own.
In the next few years I will make the transition into adulthood. I hope that through the change and new responsibilities I can remember these things gleaned from the simplicity of childhood- Have idols that you hold immense respect for. They will help you immensely. Be happy and stoked. Be a good and decent and fair person. Give more than you take. And know that life isn’t a meaningless happening.