What do I have? Where am I? Where am I headed? These are three main questions that I always asked myself when things looked bleak. There was a stretch of two years not too long ago when I asked myself the same question everyday of the week and every hour of the day while running after very many things that provided not just a way to remain active, but an escape from the tedium of asking. Years later, when many of those endeavours paid back beyond expectation, I became grateful for the chance just to ask them, even in the dark of despair when there was nothing else to do. I’ve been grateful for those moments ever since although I would never hope to relive them.
Today, prompted by many running conversations with a few people, students wondering where their life is headed in these sea of expectation and uncertainty, I want to tell a little of my story and hope that it moves them to do something, or just keep moving – whichever works – as long as they do it with all focus and the realization that everything done with a passion and the best of one’s efforts will always be rewarded, sooner or later, in some form or the other. And a realization that every experience has something to teach that would be useful for the next stage of life.
Our generation is a running one, moving, searching for its own true relevance. In the dark days of those years when the world seemed closed down around my head, I thought about so many things that I could do to avoid waking up everyday to face the bright morning sun that seemed ever so promising, yet not forthcoming with anything but a quandary of many superficial exits. Yet somehow, I got through it. How, I can’t say now, except that one day, it all passed away along with its dark clouds of self doubt and despair. I woke up, and it was sunshine again, with the beautiful colours of a new day. Then I took a shower. (Haha, kidding!)
Many students today in the different areas and levels of school work are worried about the prospect of their future. They are not alone. I remember just how depressed I was in the last weeks of my undergraduate days, wondering just what the world had for me. All of a sudden, I was heading out of this cocoon into a bold new world with its own brand of rules and expectations. The only buffer between that exit and the big bad world was a mandatory national service. A year after the national service – actually many months before – I relapsed into the same state and wondered if anything more than gloom would come out at the end. With nothing but hope, resilience, tenacity and the willingness to endure the long nights, I somehow trudged on doing whatever I could, and here I am.
I guess the only thing else to say is that when life boxes you into a corner is usually the best time to get up and fight. Sometimes it seems impossible and totally hopeless. The good news is that it isn’t. I can call myself a living example. (Knocks on wood.)