When It’s Never Enough

My new friend and I walked down the length of the University’s road in search of an ATM. It’s been less than 30 minutes after feeding on what was no doubt the most decent meal we’ve had in weeks—not decent because we couldn’t find anything to eat all these while, but because we could finally begin to feel the knot in our belly loosen enough to savour the taste of food. We had just written the most important exam of our lives—you could say for now because when the next one comes this will be bumped down to second place.

But that’s not important anyway. Just three hours before that examination you could see candidates with anxious faces flipping through pages of voluminous texts. Some of us bonded over the likely aspects of our syllabus to be tested, doing the whole permutation and combination works, and others peered so hard at their books I wondered if they could really see anything. And this went on up till the very last minute. You know my friend said even if the exams were moved three months to the future we’d still see students frantically flipping through pages on the d-day, to which I casually remarked, “since when is reading ever enough?”

I’ve been thinking about that statement.

All my life has been before me and no doubt it has been a remarkable life. I am one of the lucky ones to be blessed with uneducated parents who know the value of education enough to enroll me into school at a very early age. I’ve been through the works—study, fun, laughs and tears… seen it all. When I graduated from the university there were all these expectations, I thought well now I am qualified to search for jobs in the labour market and better still there’s this age limit on my side. Now in a few months I will be qualified to apply for jobs with the three years working experience and not above 26 years criteria. And that’s just peachy, super awesome I know. There are obviously people in this world who would say I have a great and maybe accomplished life. Heck I have people my age without a bachelor’s degree yet.

Still like I told my friend, it doesn’t seem enough.

In the grand scheme of life and purpose and all those big plans of doing something remarkable, something that’ll make people go ah! I feel like am falling short of something. Bet there are others who feel that way too? Like there’s so much more we could do with our lives and if someone just hands over the blueprint we’d get this engine running and be done with the task of living itself. If only it were that easy. Life is easier when you have direction; when there’s someone else calling the shots, someone who isn’t us. Someone who can be blamed when things go wrong, who just has a better idea what we should be doing. Right there is God, but in all my asking about his purpose I have basically been told his purpose is how we make use of our gifts, our life. And trust me I believe there’s purpose enough figuring out what you’re great at and then finding the right environment to nurture your seeds. But it isn’t very helpful either.

I know though that this confusion and doubt is all part of growing up. Knowing when to move, when to pause, when to stop the frantic flipping and peering at books… when to relax and savour the taste of food. It’s growing up and learning to be responsible for you. Because we can’t have the choices made for us forever—at some point we stop being the driven and become the driver. We stop being the Caterpillar and grow into this beautiful Butterfly (albeit a very confused one). Then the new questions become: how far do you drive? When is it enough? When do you pull the brakes and know you have arrived at your destination?

I don’t know. I wish I did perhaps some of us would take a breather every now and again and stop the endless pacing.

Do you?


run after your dreams
lol it’s typical of me to find something to laugh about in crisis…this cracked me up.



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31 thoughts on “When It’s Never Enough

  1. This is a very interesting post Uju. I think purpose keeps unfolding with every passing day and age. I am just learning to avoid the keeping up with the Jones side of following purpose and I find asking myself am I doing this to fit in, to help others or to please myself helps a little. I doubt we’ll ever stop wanting more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Figured as much too. At the very least one can stop obsessing about purpose and learn to live optimally every day. Try new things, follow dreams, revisit passions and just live.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uju, that’s a great article. Wow…
    Dunno if the mechanical wheel churning out our thoughts both conscious and subconscious are in synchronization.. Cos, believe me, my mind has been thinking in those lines n i woke up trying to find an answer to it ..

    There are times we look at ourselves and all we see is a failure in the making, forgetting all the successes we had, our mind seem to be in a mode we aint acquainted with, and there’s no shutting down of these thoughts; ain’t that scary…

    Sometimes, i do take a step back and try to rewalk the walks i ‘ve walked in a little cesspool of mine i call my mind, i try to replay my past decisions and actions making little tweaks to it here and there, trying to see if there was something i could have done better. Hindsight they say is 20/20..

    Sometimes, we feel we are meant to be remarkable, to do something great, we feel we are moving at a snail pace while everything around us is moving so fast, we just feel like we are drowning, not fast enough but slowly with no getting out.
    Sometimes, we give up and take whatever Mother Earth gives us with an happy face, a smirk on the face, hatred, love or of any emotions we might be passing through at the moment, but the truth still remains that we v given up..
    We also have the option of not giving up but the journey ain’t gonna be all smiles n fun..

    The issue u raised about knowing if we are already there or not, if we should just spread the mats, take out our drinks, play some music, have some fun and finally take a lotta rest cos we are finally there OR continue in our endeavour, to continue pushing ourselves harder, hoping that we get there until we fimally get there. I don’t think we will ever know that….. We might know a bit, but i doubt we have the complete blueprint to authoritatively say HA HA!, that’s the last stop we just passed, we r officially there..
    The best we can do is to make best the hand we are dealt with, to take a step back once in a while and enjoy whatever life has to offer us, have fun, be with friends, with families, create lovely memories.

    When and if we finally get there, we would know cos all our senses and our being would be attuned together with a peace of mind that we are finally there…

    #AND U know what? Where we think it ought to be the bus-stop to pull the brakes might just be the beginning while the first place we intend on passing by in our journey might actually be the bus stop.

    I wish and Hope you finally get your answers just as am looking for mine..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You see, we are not as different as we think– we humans. We share fears, joys, pain, uncertainties, our lives are so connected it’s almost scary. Resonance is a good thing and i’m glad you shared you thoughts.
      I also think that you may have given a very viable answer to this: Peace. When we feel at peace with our achievements, we know we’re okay. But while working on this mechanical wheel called life, we should take the time to pay attention to the beautiful sceneries around us. It’s never truly living if there’s no experience too 🙂
      I also like your closing lines: every finishing is the beginning of a new race. Life’s a journey filled with lessons too; when one lesson ends, another begins.

      Thank you again, Michael.


  3. nothing is ever enough, until you see it as enough… man need will always remain insatiable likewise aspirations. We all long to get everything done perfectly. when actually perfection isn’t necessarily.

    like the case of students flipping through their books minutes to the exam. It will always remain that way. what many fail to realize is that, not actually everything they go through sticks but what they’ve actually sat down to study before coming to the exam. They are only cocooned with the desire to get all questions right.

    Many want to be everything they could imagine but on the contrary what is asked of them is only to define a certain purpose, but the desire to go length beyond their immediate reach keeps them on the vain trail pacing down the obscure Channel of endlessly dreams.

    like you rightly said and I quote;
    “how far do you drive? When is it
    enough? When do you pull the brakes and know you have
    arrived at your destination?
    This questions don’t just pop up in the head of a maze runner.
    The culture doesn’t encourage you to think about such things until you’re about to die. We’re so wrapped up with egoistical things, career, family, having enough money, meeting the mortgage, getting a car and so on. we’re involved in trillions of little act to keep going. so we don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at our lives and saying, Is this all? is this all I want, is something missing?

    “You need somebody to probe you in that direction. it won’t just happen automatically”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’ve touched a sensitive spot in this, Samuel. Perfection. We aim for it and for a perfectionist, well, that’s a burden. Like you rightly said, nothing is enough until we begin to see it as such. We seek to outdo ourselves. We seek to outdo our neighbours.
      A wise man once said, “everything we do is fueled by envy.” I think in more secular terms it’s called keeping up with the Joneses. And perhaps that is what all these is about. Perhaps not. Perhaps we are trying to prove to ourselves that we can be more, and so we strive for that. That’s too many uncertainties, but one worth exploring.

      I hope we keep probing one another to think.


  4. ‘I know though that this confusion and doubt is all part of growing up.’

    Roger that. And in a sense, we never stop growing 🙂
    I like it when people say discover your purpose- for me, it’s about discovery. experimentation, failure, rising; all these undergirded by faith that you aren’t alone and you’ll get ‘there’ XD

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great piece Uju! I used to wonder why students would still run around with books no matter the amount of time given for preparation. I guess reading really is never enough.
    On the subject of purpose and direction, I just think letting God call the shots is our best bet in the face of the uncertainties. We know He has a purpose for our lives and there is nothing more important to Him than the realization of our potentials in the pursuit of His purposes. So, if we learn to trust Him as He leads us, we’ll progressively get to understand why we are here and where we are headed. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope. When you have to ‘guess’ at a likely exam question, you can’t leave anything to chance.

      In other words you’re saying we should live our lives as we deem ‘fit’ and hope for the best? Because one thing i have learned is that God hardly ever gives you a blueprint in your dream… or vision for that matter. It is a lot of ‘hit and miss’ if you ask me and even that can be proper frustrating. But like you said, trust is key. If we learn to trust things will eventually work out for the best.
      Thanks 🙂


    1. If that were the case, will there be any real consciousness of excitement and/or boredom? We’d do what we have to do and get all the excitement from the little thrills of competition.
      Though I confess that suspense is a better thrill….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You always ask such interesting questions, uju, and in this case you’ve answered it yourself. You are speaking like someone twice your age looking back at someone who is at the beginning of her life filled with uncertainties, fear, excitement and doubt. Most people have been there but not everyone has been as perceptive as you in asking those questions or even concerning themselves with the answer. The fact that you are aware of the frantic pace of life leads me to be to believe you will recognize when to slow down enough to enjoy the important things in life.
    Yes, life is easier when others are making decisions for you but you’re well past that time in your life and quite honestly, you don’t want that any longer. You’re a strong, intelligent woman who had an understanding of what’s in front of you. I have every confidence you’ll figure it all out in time. There really is no other way to get through it but to go through it….:) Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No you’re right, i don’t want people making crucial decisions for me even though it seems like the easy way out. If there’s anything i’ve learned it’s the need for people to be independent– getting to the point of independence though is another matter altogether.
      Your faith in me humbles me, George. Moreso because you are a man with your own children who has lived it all and seen it all. I will believe that i will figure this out.
      Thank you 🙂


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