By Laura Krawczyk
This question came about from an innocent morning coffee. I was at a seminar, last one to breakfast, same old same old. I received a coffee with a smiley face, which made me feel special and it made me smile. It was not until the next day when I saw other people’s coffees that I realised they were all exactly as the one I received the day prior. This made me start considering how special we really are.
In the 21st century, being labelled as special, is more often than not, meant with a negative connotation. “Oh, you, you must think you’re so special”. In this context, this is a cringeworthy word. However, I will be using ‘special’ as ‘unique’, which I strongly believe is positive and how it was meant to be used.
Can the human race – can ‘we’ – be special? If we are individually special are we collectively actually special? Or does the special aspect not work if it works for everyone?
You have been created genetically to posses certain traits and characteristics. Your egg was chosen to be fertilized over all the others. Before you could even comprehend, you have already won a great battle. No words were used. No concrete conscious actions were taken by you, yet you won. You have slayed your enemies without raising a finger, and despite you not even having a finger then.
Whilst living in Scotland, I have met only a handful of Scots. How can there be so few of them in their country? This made me think about the more than 8 billion people that we have on Earth, and how India has a population of over a billion. Are 1 in 8 of my friends, the people I see everyday whilst commuting, Indian? No. This is because a hefty majority of them are born in India, live in India, and then die in India. To be fair, I do see more Indians than an ‘average person’, because of my adoration for their cuisine, but that is beside the point.
In a world which just keeps popping out more ‘us’, how do we go from ‘us’ to ‘me’? What makes us special? What makes me special? Being born in the 90s, has made me aware of two other age groups. The ones born in 1989 were supposed to be the generation to change the world. They were the first ones born in the ‘free’ world. They were not only supposed to bring change, but be the change. You can conclude by yourself whether they have achieved that, or whether once again, the expectations were set against them from November 9th. The other age group is the millennials. I find it irrationally odd to see children born in 20XX year. Somehow whilst studying history, I had no issue accepting the dates in the past: 1492 the discovery of America, 1789 the French Revolution, 1904 the Russo-Japanese War. However reflecting back on what I have observed in my lifetime, the attack on the World Trade Centre, the large EU enlargement, the refugee crisis, are in itself history. Maybe not yet, but they are the past which will be remembered.
Whilst it is simpler to remember the events which shook history, it is harder to remember the people. How is one to be remembered? To be special? How to be Mandela, Obama, or Merkel? Being the best at something is the most obvious choice. However, if you are like me, and lack not only musical, or artistic skills you need to come to terms that that is not how you will be remembered and that the possibilities of being remembered by history are becoming slimmer and slimmer for you. You could be the next Dan Brown. You could be the next Steven Spielberg. You could be the next Da Vinci. However, it is unrealistic for you to presume that that will just happen because you will it to be so. If you want to be special, you need to start acting like it. If you want to be special, you need to do your own thing. If you want to be special, you need to be you.