I don’t know about the rest of you, but I know that I definitely went through a hipster phase in high school. The only music I listened to was “alternative” and anything “mainstream” was to be ridiculed and avoided. Eventually I woke up and realized how stupid an idea that is and started to be interested in and enjoy whatever I like, regardless of the labels. Unfortunately though, I have found that some lingering traces of that ideology still remain, even as I have attempted to let them go. There have been, and ashamedly, still are, bands, TV shows, movies, clothes, food, and more that I have spent way too long hating for no reason.
So, here are a few ways that I have found, and am still working on, to make sure that I don’t miss out on great things just because everyone else knows they are great too.
1. Understand if something is just a trend or an actual lifestyle
This one is a big one since we live in the age of the internet, where trends come and go in the space of a second. Trends can be good or bad, and we can easily decide if we want to indulge in them or simply let them pass. There is no need to get excessively worked up about a fad that will pass soon as the next comes. This means two things. One is that you don’t have to immediately condemn people for doing something trendy because this is a quick thing that will come and go. Two, you can indulge in a trend or two yourself, and just try out something different for a little and then let go of it when you’re done. Not everything deserves all of your passion. However, something important to remember is that just because something that was part of your lifestyle becomes a trend doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy it and must denounce it immediately. In two seconds the Kardashians will be done with it and that trend will be yours again.
2. Remember the joy of sharing
An amazing antidote I discovered, quite on accident, to wanting to stay away from popular things just because they are popular, is to remember how sweet it is to share something with a friend or even a stranger. I love realizing I am accidentally twinning with someone, or finding out that we love the same movie, or pulling up beside someone blasting the same K-pop song in their car. There is a pure joy there when you get to share your love and passion with someone else! So many great conversations and wonderful friendships have surrounded me since letting go of my obsession with what is “mainstream” and what is not. Don’t be threatened by others’ joy. Instead, join in.
3. Realize that you don’t have to fight to be unique
I think this point is the biggest of these. I know personally that some of the issues I had with simply enjoying something, even if it was trendy or popular, were caused by my desire to feel special. I wanted to be different from everyone else, so I prided myself on not liking what others liked and not doing what others did. But, as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that there is so much more strength and comfort in unity than in stark individuality. It is so much sweeter a feeling to recognize a similarity with a friend than to run into a difference that cannot be bridged.
Realizing that you are you, a unique individual with both differences and similarities to those around you, means that you can let go of trying to forcefully distinguish yourself. You are already distinguished; you were when you were born. The rest of life is just discovering what you enjoy, and you don’t need to force yourself into liking this or disliking that to do it. Just experience and enjoy things wholeheartedly, regardless of whatever everyone else is doing. Whether that means that no one has ever heard of your favorite song or that everyone knows all the words (and adlibs) to your favorite song, it’s ok. Just genuinely enjoy.