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.
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