Dear [Insert Name],
The thing about life is that there is no certainty about it. Sure, we humans (try to) follow some sort of order or structure in order to prevent or rather reduce the propensity for insanity, but when it all comes down to it, sometimes things don’t go the way we expect OR go way beyond our wildest imagination. Kind of like how I’ve been meaning to finish up and post two blogs on the World Social Forum and my insight into self-sustainable villages at Salim Sarr for the past month or so. Or how you’ve always wanted to do that one specific thing but never did because one thing or another – life, as we like to call it – happens. Maybe even how, on some level, we know that in order for us to achieve world peace, development, or any other large scale endeavor or cause we believe in, we need to first of all apply ourselves, and be willing to look past differences. The thing about life is that it is life. Unpredictable to its very core, and despite all the challenges, beautiful in its entirety.
I’ve found myself questioning a lot of things about life. About my expectations of it, other people’s expectations of me, and “society’s” expectations of us all. There is no clear cut recipe for living “a deeply fulfilling and “successful” life”. And I don’t think there should be either, otherwise the levels of diversity we have in our thoughts, beliefs, mannerisms, physique and so on would be greatly undermined. In all its complexities, I think life is a befitting tribute to just how awesome The Creator is. One constant about life is change. There’s always an opening act; the final minutes to the curtain call. There’s always those last tense seconds to make the home run and win the trophy. There’s always that final hour right before the dawn. There’s always something going on. Thing is, we don’t ever really know what that thing is. And even when we think we do, it turns out we’re probably only aware on a one-dimensional plane. I’ve given up trying to guess what life will serve up. Unlike a buffet table where you can be assured that at the very least, you will be able to take a sip of water and be comfortable in indulging in it, life offers no such guarantees.
But does the lack of a guarantee mean one should cower in fear of the unknown or in fear itself, under one’s covers or rest in the bosom of one’s mother(land)? I’ll leave you to answer that question for yourself. Personally, the answer is no. I have accepted that change will always be a constant in my life experience. Sometimes I welcome it, other times I resist and then eventually accept it, most times, I don’t even realize its happening. It just creeps upon me and leaves me wondering, what in heaven’s name just happened? But life is life, and all you can do is follow its course. To not do so will be death in its essence. Now as to how you choose to define the course of life is up to you. It could be lined with hope, with a trust in the divine, with a scrupulous tendency towards seeing what is and ignoring what (seems) is not. With or without the challenges, ultimately, your perspective on your life is what counts. As tends to be the case, our past experiences influence – mind you, not determine – our path in life. One thing has held true in my life is to always follow whatever I am passionate about in any given moment. Believe me, I have a lot of passions, but there are some that always stick out at certain times, and ironically, they usually lead to the numerous other experiences or opportunities I crave. I try to live my life by Maxwell Ehrmann’s Desiderata, and more especially, this verse:
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
Be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
I don’t believe that things are left to chance. I believe in the power of the Unknown and the All-Seeing who is Allah or God, or whatever name you use to refer to the Divine. So yes, maybe I may not be your typical girl next door. Or I might be eerily like you. Maybe I bore or piss the heck out of you. Or perhaps you find some comfort in the words I write. Whatever the case, I try to be me. If that means missing a couple of boats along the way, then so be it. The wind in my sail might be the same as that in yours, but the paths we chart need not be the same. How boring would that be? True, I might want it all. Heck, I DO want it all – to be not only following, but living my dream, to have intense heartfelt connections with people from all over the world, to be a mother, wife, grandma (?), to experience the divine peace that comes from within from communing with God, to have enough money to walk into a shop one day and not think twice about picking up those gorgeous stilettos, to make a huge impact on someone’s life, or even an entire society or country, to change perceptions and introduce various truths, ALL of it – the catch 22 though is time. How can all this be crammed into an allocation of time I have no inkling about anyway? Does the fact that I could (or could not) have it all mean I should rush through the pages of the book to come to the very end? I definitely want it all. But not at the expense of living out fully this journey called life. And especially not at the expense of myself, my truths or my values. Shortcuts might cut time, but I think it also cuts out experience. And for one who wants to have a myriad of experiences, that wouldn’t be the smartest route to take would it? In the end, what’s it all worth anyway? Bottomline is we might want the same things, or vastly different things out of life. Does that make the relevance of each of our desires any less true? As per the Holy Qu’ran, Unto you your religion (life), unto me mine.
Maybe all this is is mere musings on a bolt bus. Or maybe it’s really gonna make some sense to me at some later date when I need clarity (or confusion?). Chais pas. But I guess we already ascertained that. We never really know, do we? About this. thing. called. LIFE.
Yours in Life,