ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49

When reality strikes it strikes hard

By Dumbo

‘Someday’ has arrived too soon. At least that's how it feels when you're twenty-something and staring down so many unknown paths ahead of you, wondering which one to take. It's just a memory of childish anticipation waiting to grow up and the many promises you made to yourself which you left for 'someday' to achieve, that linger in the back of your head.

It's almost like a voice out of the darkness of your imagination emerges out of nowhere and says, "Times up! Ready or not you're growing up!"

Wallah! You're an adult of twenty-something and facing your first crisis – the quarter life one. Perhaps you know what I am talking about? It's waking-up in the morning and confronting your first grey hair in the mirror, taken aback you scramble to remove any hint of your fading youth by desperately trying to pluck it because it just doesn't belong there.

It's a time when disillusion sets in and starts dousing that fire that burnt somewhere in the middle of your chest when you just left school and you were ready to take on the world and make a difference, the only difference is that now, the flame is reduced to a flicker. And you discover in reality taking on the world means qualifications, exposure, long hours of frustration and being confined to a chair and staring at a screen for the most part. The only opportunity the world has to offer, you discover subsequently is the kind you create for yourself through sheer grit.

It's a time when you toss at night and while waiting for sleep to come, you start asking questions again like you were five years old. Questions like: Is this where I'm supposed to be? This is not what I had planned, but can I actually see myself doing this forever? What do I want from life? And is there a difference between happiness and complacency? But sadly the answers you realise are actually part of your own personal awakening.

Friends who you've scraped your knees with and giggled through Portello stained lips, leant your teenage heartaches against are now married with kids of their own. And in a way you're singled out and making it that much harder to relate to.

So here you are amid all the struggles of trying to find your place in the world, build a career and may be find someone nice to settle down with, you also find yourself the eye sore of a society that chastises your single-hood. It's in those moments that for no reason at all, just then the silent tears begin to fall and you long for those days when you were still waiting to grow up, and your dreams were in a time that was too far off to count, in a time that could not be measured, a time you set for 'someday.'

The dawning of reality brings with it, its own sting when your best friend tells you their migrating due to unforeseen uncertainties. Your plans of growing old together have taken a back seat and suddenly the country that once cradled your childhood holds nothing for them.

With the weight of so many questions bearing down on you for answers, another inevitable one mounts and perhaps it has crossed the minds of at least one of us and that emotional tug of war begins. And then you wonder how a conflict that raged on for years in a country you were growing up, a conflict that seemed so detached from you in a brief instance has now managed to touch your life, and you struggle with the conflict within – Should I leave this country and what really is left here for me?

The guilt seeps in from the back of your mind questioning you as to how selfishly you could forget the blood that was spilt by those who put off their cherished plans for a ‘someday,’ so that we could achieve our hopes of today. And we are the lucky ones aren't we? Because we saw the tomorrow's that they only dreamed of. Could you turn your back on that? Could you dust the earth off your feet and disown the very soil that nourished you.

But at the same time you're pulled in the other direction because if you stay could this world of turmoil hold a place for you? A place in this world of halves and quarters. What am I talking about? Well, take a look around and haven't you noticed the increasing number who can't afford anything more than half of anything, even if it's as simple as a coconut or cooking oil.

When was the last time someone said ‘good morning’ and not just half a greeting of ‘morning,' and when did you last buy something that was actually worth the price you paid or helped a stranger on the street without being so half hearted and suspicious? It's almost as if, the more you know, the less you understand and all the things you thought you knew, you're learning again.

So could we really take our place in such a society and find the pieces to make us whole? And isn't now the time for those of us in our twenty-somethings, to stay back and inspire this generation of ours and those who are yet to be, to seek out the virtues of self reliance, hard work, honesty, humility and yes, even forgiveness – the cornerstones to an era our parents once told us stories about. Or do we leave and allow those virtues to be lost to yet another generation?

Oh! how soon ‘someday’ has arrived.

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