Midnights, or just late nights. This is when a train of thoughts wrecks my mind. It is when I get a chance to meet the real me, the me that only me would ever know and understand. This particular late-night, however, my life flashes before me. Just Like a movie, the twists, the drama and the suspense plays out before me.
Life has been likened to the game of chess. Maybe that’s why most of us don’t know how to play it. The mazy moves and the endless circus, is just a highlight of this adventure called life. What’s my purpose here? Sometimes I wonder. And it is not just me.
The late Avicii (famous Swedish DJ) was a big hit, selling out stadiums, completing successful gigs around the world, boasting an overflowing bank account, and a successful career. He possessed what everyone, young or old, dreams of. And yet, he never found peace. He had achieved too much, a little bit too soon I think. What the world demanded of him, superseded what he wanted and needed. Peace. He committed suicide on the top of a successful career.
His death fed one of my greatest fears. The fear of, ‘if money can’t solve your problem, then the problem is very big’. Whenever I think of this and other infamous suicides around the world, I always end up scared. My mind shrinks in fear. Endless questions pop up in my head. Is it worth it? All this I crave for? When I get a good job or start a successful business, fancy mansion, and the admiration of the society, will I be satisfied? Will I be able to sleep at night with a clear calm conscience? I wonder when I will ever stop wondering.
Behind the smiles, the makeup, the nice dresses and suits, the filters and the enthusiasm always lies a disturbed conscience, to others it is guilt. It never shows, you can’t see it from the natural eyes. It’s deeper than the ‘how are yous’ and ‘I’m fines’. It is a depressed world built on false impression. Social Media has reduced us to competitors, while at the same time anxiety has poisoned our minds.
The society has set standard for us below which you’re considered a failure in life. Nobody cares about how you feel. Instead, people are being overhauled by education madness, work disappointments, age pressures. We respond to the storm around us by shutting down our inner world and rarely do we sense a tectonic realignment of the plates of change in our lives.
Well, allow me offer you an unpopular opinion; it is okay not to have everything figured out. It’s really okay when your future seems blurred, when you seem not to know where you’re going. Maybe you don’t know where you are going because nobody has ever gone there. You might as well be the first along that path. And the beauty of this is that you won’t get lost. Only those who know where they are supposed to be going get lost.
So don’t torture yourself because the society has set timelines for you. Trust the process. Sometimes all you have to do in this life is show up. When life tries to bring you down to your knees, you stand tall and soldier on. Always remind yourself that, ‘this too shall pass!’ and trust that God has everything already figured out. Most of the things that we worry about now, may not even matter in the next few years.
For those of us who are lucky to find or make a path for themselves, grow yourself every day. Most importantly, set goals in everything you do. I love Dr Gachanja’s (a mentor and my Dean of school) analogy about setting goals. He compares goal-setting to a soccer game. Normally, it’s expected that the best team in a soccer match is determined by the one that scores more goals than the other.
But imagine of this scenario, where two teams play at a football pitch but one without goal posts. No matter how good a team is, we can never identify the best among them because they don’t have goals to show for it. This represents those of us who wake up every morning to a routine commitment, can be education or job commitments, but without goals guiding them.
The second group of people are like a normal soccer match, but this time the goal posts are so big, covering the width of the football pitch, at both ends. Whereas this can be considered as targets, they are so big and wide and hence not much effort is needed to achieve this. In this case, you can never visualize if you are progressing.
The last group of people are like a soccer match where the goal posts are so narrow, say the diameter of a soccer ball, with a goalkeeper in it. This represents those of us who set unrealistic or almost impossible goals for themselves, those that can never be achieved, and end up beating themselves or being depressed when they don’t come to pass.
Friends, the truth is prioritizing your inner peace and mental health above all else is not being selfish. It is called self-love and self-respect. Be careful to perceive what thoughts your mind and energy attracts. Subscribe to constant reinvention. Every chance you get to be happy, take it. Edit and refine your life frequently with positivity and discovery. You can’t be the superhero who always wants to carry the weight of the world on his back. Don’t lend your ear where your voice cannot be paid attention to. Take time to build and develop yourself. Take time every day to rediscover yourself. Feed your mind with new knowledge and learn from anything and everything. Always aspire to be a better updated version of yourself every morning. Maybe thereafter this may overflow to others.