The Life You’re Missing Out On

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Edward J. Stieglitz


So, what are you doing? Are you focusing on your years and what you’re making out of them? Chances are, you said yes. Of course you are. You’re focusing on your school, your extracurricular activities, and your hobbies. You work hard to get what you want in life. That’s amazing, but what about… you? Are you living your life to its fullest potential? Maybe you think you are, but maybe you’re missing something.

Human beings are programmed to stick to what they know. Most of us don’t like change, things that are different or things that are new. Societies like to stick with what they know is safe. That is how the first humans survived, and that is how we should be. The only problem is that your comfort zone is holding you back. In Plato’s “Allegory of the cave”, it can be observed that Plato uses metaphors to show people’s ignorance, or rather peoples limitations, due to their ‘comfort zone’. The inhabitants of the cave are “being prevented by the chains from turning around their heads,” (Kreis, 1). Plato explains that these people are unable to turn away from the darkness of the cave to see the light and all that it entails. This example is a direct metaphor for how people live today. Society is unable to turn around and see the light because it is so used to living in the dark, their comfort zone is what “chains” them back. This makes sense because it is scary. Yet, by leaving your comfort zone–trying something new, allowing change to happen, or even removing something negative from your life–you can become the best person you can be. That’s the first step to living your life to the fullest.

Suppose you do something really embarrassing in front of a crowd, and when it’s all done, you spend hours thinking about how people will never forget it. Here’s a newsflash: no one cares. It sounds harsh, but people are all so similar to each other. While you are worrying about what this one person thinks about you, that person is worrying about what someone else thinks of them. In reality, people don’t have the time or space in their mind to worry about other people. This is why you should do what you want. If you have an idea, share it. If you want to wear that outfit, wear it. If you want to dance, do it. You’ll have something priceless, which most people lack. Do more of what you love, no matter who’s watching.

According to the American Psychological Association, 54% of students in the United States are suffering from school stress. 30% say that the school-induced stress is causing health problems. Furthermore, the Korea Herald states that chronic stress and pressure to do well in school has caused teen suicide rates to soar. Almost everyone around us suffers from school stress. Over the years, students have been brainwashed to thinking that grades are all that you need to do well in life: you use them to get into a good university, to get a well-paying job and live happily. However, this isn’t always true. Of course, getting good grades is good for your profile, and making good money is a benefit, but it can only get you so far. Can money and grades make you happy? To a certain extent, yes, you can find joy from that A+ or joy from the newest iPhone model, but can it make you truly happy? Most of the good things in life are free. Love is free, family is free, friends are free, appreciation of beauty is free. Money can’t buy you that. And often, people only realize this after they have everything they have ever ‘wanted’.

The objective of this article was to put something in perspective. Life is worth more than what you think it is. Everyone is independent, unique and special no matter who they are, where they come from, what their salary is, or what they identify as. Why should we follow each other rather than go out and do something new for ourselves? Why do we care what others think? Why do we care so much about tangible things? The answers to these questions remain unsolved. But you, the unique, amazing person that you are can change that. You can’t hide in the cave with the rest of the group; you have to learn, love, accept, challenge, experience and live. Your life is awaiting you, so step into the light.


Works Cited


Herald. “Suicide No. 1 Cause of Death for S. Korean Teens, Youths.” The Korea Herald, 26 Apr. 2018,


Kreis, Steven. “Plato, ‘The Allegory of the Cave.’”, 2012,


Neighmond, Patti. “School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say.” NPR, NPR, 2 Dec. 2013,


Plato, Benjamin Jowett, “Allegory of the Cave”.