Embracing the Cliche

I have never really liked the word cliché. 

In an era where shows like The Politician and movies like The Joker have been called a representation of our time, should we not be scared. Should we not be craving a little more cliché in our lives. Each era has its own unique set of struggles and pains. There is no way to compare the struggles that teenager go through today against our grandparents who were sent away or were forced to work for the war effort but, that is not to say that just because the struggles look different that one is more or less valid then the other. Although admittedly coming from an extreme bias as I am a Gen Z snowflake myself, I truly believe that although the physical threat may be lower, the intense psychological forces working against teenagers today lives up to the pattern of immense pressure that teenagers and young adults have faced in society throughout history. Students are facing immense pressure to be doing and excelling at a million extracurriculars along with maintain a strong GPA, usually a part time job and a successful social life. However, the pressure even follows us in our free time. Social Media often blurs the line between actually enjoying an experience or simply looking like you are having fun. It’s getting harder and harder to make a distinction between pure enjoyment and the validation that comes from sharing our experiences with others.

 However, in these experiences you cannot just do anything. The activities you are projecting have to be cool and trendy. The traditional going out to a cheap but delicious meal or walking around a park is not enough to cut it. You need to live up to the expectation. Never mind that nobody is actually expecting anything from you, but this self-inflicted pressure makes me (and I hope I am not alone in this) feel like I constantly need to be going above and beyond doing something bigger and better. And above all cost I need to avoid experiences that will be perceived as cliché or boring. But if there is one thing I know about myself, it’s that I loved a good cliché. I love when the hero gets the bad guy, or the patient beats the illness, or the guy gets the girl. I don’t always need things to be realistic, the fullness in my heart that comes from seeing something pure and joyful is real. This weekend I had one of these cliché experiences: I went Apple Picking.

  Me and one of my close friends make a last-minute decision to go on an adventure to a place we had never heard of that was two hours away in order to go apple picking, an activity neither of us had done since we were little. I had been wanting to go and we both agreed that we needed a mental break. On the way there we were both preoccupied with other things. She was trying to finish an assignment and I was trying to get through my weekly calls to family I felt I needed to make in order to check something off my to-do list and have time for other activities later. However, when we arrived, we were transported to another time. Although the lack of cell service helped, it felt as though we entered into a simpler time. A time of connection and community. It felt like we were living in a Hallmark movie.

As we walked down the down streets and through the apple trees, we laughed and smiled and felt totally at peace for the first time in a long time. I wasn’t worried about responding to my texts and snapchats or keeping my Instagram story up to date on what we were doing. We were totally present with each other and purely having a lovely time. As you walk around Oak Glen everyone smiles at you and every person you talk to is just so content and happy with where they are in that moment. No one is attached to their phones or preoccupied with concerns about the real world beyond, everyone is simply at peace. We drove home differently. As we traveled down the road, feeling entirely overwhelmed with the beauty of the cotton candy skies surrounding us on all sides, I was struck by how grateful I was for this time and the people in my life. 

 

And if that makes me cliché than I am ok with that.