as this year draws to a close, i feel terribly directionless and not who i once was. granted this has been an incredibly freeing year – endless travelling to new cities and places, joining university where one can do anything and be anything (which often comes at a cost of no commitment, a problem i’ll expand on some other time), meeting new people and feeling the rush of endless possibilities out there.
yet in all this freedom, i’ve forgotten the one most important thing: others before self. i’ve forgotten that while all these experiences may be great and soaking it all up can make you feel at the top of the world, these are nothing but privileges. doing everything that i am is a privilege. dreaming about the things that i am is a privilege. there is nothing inherently wrong with doing any of those.
but when you forget about what you stand for at your core, when you stop thinking about the others who don’t have such privileges, when you don’t sacrifice for the betterment of someone else, then houston, we have a problem.
a couple of people have asked what i want in the year ahead and for the first time in a long while i do not have a coherent answer to that question. for years i’d have planned out some set of goals, created a word document with a one-world title that would guide my next 365 days. but this year there was none of that. it’s all been about checking things of a list and getting things done. something to do which would lead to something else.
i thought i wouldn’t have an answer to that question but little did i know it was lying there the whole time and i’ve simply blindsided it.
i need to go back to being who i once was. i need to just simply be me.
i watched wonder a few days ago and two statements hit me like a brick:
“when given the choice between being kind and being right, choose kind” – this was one of my guiding quotations from days of secondary school past but after two years of “do it once do it good” and “make it happen” and a year of being surrounded by an incessant amount of “me”, “myself” and “i”, perhaps i’ve forgotten what means to be kind instead. a shortage of time (i mean literally everything runs on a schedule now in life, the kind of clockwork i hoped to once avoid) exacerbates the situation creating an endless cycle of anger (anger that i once promised never to indulge in, no matter how righteous it was – except while going for runs heh), pain and stress. i hope to rediscover what it means to be kind. and to that end i’m going to free myself for the people i love, because if i can’t offer that time then what use is anything else that i have. i pray that i’ll find this spark once more.
“it’s not enough to be friendly. you have to be a friend.” – this one hit hard. it reminded me of all the times where i could have done more but didn’t. i thought it was enough but it never was, i never really truly was a friend. i’ve always hoped to avoid conflict in life, be the middle guy and live in between everyone but i’ve realised that unfortunately this is not the way things work in the real world. people are always going to ditch you for someone else, and at the end of the day you have to take a stand. you have to stand for something or you fall for everything. i’ve never really stood for that something. and it hurts to know that i didn’t more but that will change this coming year. i owe it to them, them and them to be better.
the past few months, and in particular the past few weeks, while progress has been made conquering old demons once and for all, the anger that pervades me leaves something to be desired. dissatisfaction, temper, grouchiness: everything i’ve never wanted to be is everything that i am now. that needs to change, and fast.
no road is smooth-sailing and nothing works out the way one imagines but if i can’t even begin to try then i’m not making anyone proud.
i have to be better, give and don’t take. celebrate every day like a birthday / good things come to those that wait up / but don’t wait to jump in too long. no more waiting, just all in. i hope you learn to make it on your own / and if you love yourself, just know you’ll never be alone / … and (above all) when you get it all, just remember one thing / remember one thing, that one man could change the world.
it starts with me.
“It was only when I began to travel, and look and live beyond my home that I understood my responsibility to others. I realized how sheltered I had been, and I was determined never to be that way again. I have never understood why some people are lucky enough to be born with the chance that I had, to have this path in life. And why across the world there’s a woman just like me, with the same abilities and the same desires, same work ethic and love for her family, who would most likely make better films, and better speeches — only she sits in a refugee camp. She has no voice. She worries about what her children will eat, how to keep them safe, and if they’ll ever be allowed to return home. I don’t know why this is my life and that’s hers. I don’t understand that, but I will do as my mother asked, and I will do the best I can with this life to be of use.”
rise, rise, rise.