When I was young, I used to look up to my mates.
They had everything.
The latest tracksuits, trainers, footy kits, bikes, you name it.
And they were always allowed to do stuff.
Go to the park to play footy, ride to Thornaby skate park, walk to Preston Park, stay over at so and so’s or camp out.
Whenever I asked my mum for the latest computer game, or to go camping, when she asked why, and I responded ‘because so and so has it’ or ‘because so and so is allowed’, she’d always respond with: ‘if so and so jumped off a bridge, would you?’
For a long time, that message was lost on me. Of course I wouldn’t jump off a bridge just because my mate did. But that question is deeper than that.
What that question is really asking is ‘what do you really want? Are you following the crowd for the sake of following the crowd? And how much following are you willing to do before it conflicts with what you really want?
Deep down, do you really want the same thing as your friend? And if you do, do you want it because you want it? Or because you want to fit in? To be accepted.
How far will you follow before you realise that you don’t want to jump off that bridge?
And if, ultimately, you don’t want to jump of the bridge, then why follow anyone at all?