The end of individualism

How a trip to Colorado Springs showed me that we need more color in the world.
Youve probably heard the saying theres two sides to every coin. While weve seen the bleak side of the world recently, we can still flip it to a colorful, lively one.
You’ve probably heard the saying “there’s two sides to every coin.” While we’ve seen the bleak side of the world recently, we can still flip it to a colorful, lively one.
Sarabeth Wester

A summer day in Colorado Springs: considerably drier than Florida and a more comfortable temperature. Like any tourist visiting an unfamiliar city, I was set on getting out of the house to see what the city had to offer. During my walk, I saw these Victorian style buildings. They were nothing short of gorgeous. A special type of beauty only old architecture has. Most of these houses had stained glass windows, turrets, and huge porches topped off with unique hand-carved embellishments.

After I broke out of my initial trance from the beauty of it all, I took another glance at one of the old houses. The turrets were deteriorating. Some of the shingles were missing, and on top of the once bright paint lay a coat of dirt. It looked like no one had taken care of the home in years.

Taking my gaze away with a heavier heart than before, I felt disappointed to see such a home falling apart. It seemed as if the heartfelt character it was built with had been forgotten with time. So I wondered, “Since when have our values changed to make such a place not matter anymore?” This house was probably once so full of life with distinctive personal features. Before that day, I never put much thought into architecture. But that house didn’t make sense to me. How could somebody not care for it? 

Those one-of-a-kind homes that my mom has always pointed out, both in Colorado Springs and well, everywhere, are now getting replaced by the same, stark, modern houses that you’ve probably seen on My Lottery Dream Home

The newer houses that you see these days almost feel like carbon copies of each other.  Improving the quality of design is great, but leaving everything unique about it behind? The thought of that fills me with a deep sense of disappointment.

Architecture isn’t the only thing that’s felt more bleak in modern days; in some ways, it feels like many people and ideas have lost their colorful flair.

 “Less is more” is a phrase modern society has come to adopt and embody. As a result of that, over the years, the world as a whole has gotten more minimalistic, and the people and their creations more standardized and less unique. In the process, I think we’ve gotten rid of tiny parts of ourselves. 

People tend to focus on fitting in– which as a teenage girl, I’m guilty of as well. Attracting negative attention is one of my worst fears. I follow the trends other people my age take part in. But as much as I want to fit in with those standards, in my heart I know that’s not who I am. 

The way the world is moving has made it difficult for me to find myself. Just like those identical modern houses, I feel as if most people are moving in the same direction. Most people my age want to study the same few fields, indulge in the same interests, or dress in the same styles. And sometimes that makes me scared to forge my own path. Should I just major in computer science since everybody else is doing it? The answer is no. That’s not who I want to be. I’d be 30 times happier pursuing my passions than doing what’s popular.

In the areas where we decide to stray from the norm, we find some of the hardest decisions made in our lives.You may get scared people will judge you, or that you’re making the wrong choice. 

It’s so cliche, but the best answer is to choose what fits you. It’s a simple value, but something a lot of people– including myself sometimes– don’t follow. I don’t want to end up like a duplicate of the person next to me, even though it seems as if what’s popular is to follow everyone else. If you want to dress for winter during the summertime, who’s going to stop you? If you want to dye your hair the brightest shade of hot pink, just go for it! 

So next time I go on a walk down a random street, I hope I see the unique, personalized houses making a comeback. It might seem insignificant, but it gives people a reason to stop and appreciate the smaller things, and most importantly it gives us a reason to care.

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  • Michele JurgensenOct 9, 2023 at 3:47 pm

    Grace – I can totally relate to what you’re saying in this essay. I hope many read it and begin to think about how precious everyone’s own unique individuality is! I grew up in an old Victorian home up in northeast Ohio – I love that architecture! The new homes they are mass building are just ugly.