When I was younger, not only in my teens but also throughout my twenties, I fell into this trap of believing that I was one hundred percent entitled to knowing certain details about my life. Like what I would be doing with myself by certain ages.
To walk you through it, I was supposed to graduate by 21, which due to failing the same exam 3 times in a row never happened. Then I was supposed to be married by 22, because it was the obvious next step after graduating, but also- and it makes me cringe to admit this- the hopeless romantic in me thought that this was the perfect age for this particular step to take place. That didn’t happen either because well, men. I was also supposed to be a lawyer by 24 and there are various reasons why this never happened, mainly because of failing said above exams but also there was no way on God’s earth that someone who hates conflict and arguments as much as myself was ever going to make it big in that field. And finally, if I didn’t get married by 25, I was supposed to buy a house by 29- and maybe it was life taking pity on me, or maybe it was all the self inflicted deadlines catching up with me and biting me in the ass that did it, but this particular target I somehow managed to meet. Alhamdulilah. One out of twenty is not bad, right?
Almost every night of the last month I’ve laid in bed wondering where life will take me at 30 and 31 and 32, almost completely forgetting that growing old, which sometimes feels like a cruel and painful joke, is actually a real privilege that is not bestowed upon everyone. I think of all the people I have lost in the last five years alone- family or non, to death or otherwise- and honestly, my knees feel like they are about to give out.
Growing up, I’ve always thought that I was going to be one of those people who dies in their 20s which I suppose still has a 5.5week’s chance of becoming a reality. If I do make it to 30 though, this means that for some reason or another, God has chosen to keep me on this earth until he decides otherwise. Which is a gift, however…
I do always wonder why he’s keeping me here and what purpose he wants me to fulfil, because not knowing kills me inside. I want to know it and do it. I’m not about crusing through life and just seeing where the pieces fall. I feel like I have been losing my self and sharing my bed with these intrusive thoughts for a long time now and they simply refuse to let me sleep. I have also experienced, in the last 3 months alone, several painful episodes of phyaical unwellness that have driven me to brink of insanity and back.
All of the above, has led me to conclude that planning every step of your life to perfection is the equivelant of flirting with disaster. I know someone who spent the best part of 5 years designing their dream home only for it to be blown apart to pieces in a state of war that no one saw coming and I still hear their voice break when talking about that home because to them, it was more than just bricks and grout and plaster, it was where a thousand and one memories were made.
It has also led me to conclude that the question “where do you see your self in 5 years?” needs to be axed from interviews because it has the potential of ruining someone’s peace of mind worrying that they were supposed to be a researcher by 30 but they’re still working their way up in the labs.
There’s no moral of the story to any of the above. Take what you will away from it, something or nothing, makes little difference to me. I guess what I take from it, is that no one was supposed to be anything by a certain time just because they thought it and planned it that way. Anything could happen to interrupt your plans; war, death, weddings, births, bankrupcy, inheritence, anything. You just have to swallow that
bitter pill and deal. As for not knowing what my purpose in life is, then I guess, for now, it could be to leave goodness wherever I go until said purpose finds me (which is a challenge if you know how much on an angry and short fused person I can be). At least this way, I will have left my own little legacy behind and that is better than merely existing… here but not really there.