Searching for the perfect apple

Ben Zhao, Executive Features Editor

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Photo Illustration by Lucia Bosacoma

I can’t stand an apple with bruises.

I don’t even remember when this distaste began, all I know is that whenever I see the slightest signs of a bump on an otherwise pristine apple, I find myself instinctively throwing the entire fruit straight into the garbage.

Whenever I am in the mood for an apple, I rummage around my fridge, inspecting each apple from every angle until I find the one gleaming fruit that meets my standards, wasting my time and effort on achieving a trivial vanity that barely affects the taste of the apple.

Throughout my time here at Glenbrook North, I have looked too long and hard for that perfect apple.

When it came to academics, I spent too many nights agonizing over how to perform to the highest caliber, reading textbooks and reviewing packets until I could barely keep my eyes open.

When it came to extracurriculars and competitions, I idolized the top of the podium and would experience periods of worthlessness when I received anything less than first place.

When it came to my friendships, I gave up on those I deemed not understanding enough, those who were not compatible enough with my interests, those whose inconsistent loyalties formed bruises on my perception of them.

I became consumed with anxiety over my smallest mistakes. I started fixating only on winning. I lost many friends I had known for years.

My quest to find the perfect apple in every aspect of life hindered my ability to see with a greater perspective and truly appreciate high school.

Part of the reason my quest for perfection ended fruitlessly was because I could not see through the facade of perfection and realize how flaws are ingrained in our fabric.

But more importantly, it was the belief branded in my mind — that with enough effort, focus or time, I could attain some pinnacle of success — that ultimately damaged the way I approached my life. By working one more hour, gaining one more medal and losing one more friend, I did not find fulfillment and only felt emptiness.

Our worth is not defined solely by faults.

Expecting perfection is inherently wrong. Relentlessly pursuing it will only cause us to lose sight of what’s important. Instead of maintaining a mindset where shortcomings are magnified, all we can do is adapt to the things we don’t like and celebrate the ones we do.

These four years have taught me to accept life’s imperfections, whether it be a B, a third place finish or a friend who isn’t perfect but is supportive nonetheless, and embrace an apple that may have a few bruises.

After all, bruised apples make the best pies.

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Searching for the perfect apple