This is YOUR life, Don’t Live Someone else’s DREAM
This blog post was written by Winnie Makuru, from TuWezeshe Akina Dada Tanzania partner, The Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF)
As I grow older, and hopefully wiser, I am glad that I have come to the realization and acceptance that: Life has no fixed formula, let alone one that fits everyone!
When I was younger, I used to think that there were stages in life that had to be accomplished and that they had to be done in a specific order to not be considered a failure.
I could see it in my mind’s eye…
I was supposed to go to school first: Kindergarten, primary school then secondary, followed by college to get at least a Bachelor’s Degree and or even Master’s Degree. Once done with school, I would get a job working for someone. Then when I was settled, I would find a man to marry me and start a family with. I would live until I was old then die.
That was the safe bubble that the society around me had instilled in my mind. Since childhood, that was how I defined life.
But then I ‘grew up’! I learned and saw things: I travelled, met different people, had my dreams shattered, loved, lost hope, laughed, lost faith in humanity, regained faith in humanity — I mean, you get the drift.
My whole perception of life changed. It was not as clear cut, predictable or straight forward as I thought it was supposed to be. For a while, it was a difficult pill to swallow — I think I even spat it out a few times. Finally, I came to terms with the fact that I had to swallow it. I had to find a way that worked for me.
Once I had come to this realisation, I found peace in the knowledge that I was actually doing okay — or at least, that I would eventually be okay!
It is okay if you could not go to school, okay if you dropped out of high school.
It is okay that it took you 8 years to finish college, okay that you had to take a gap year, and okay that you chose to start your own business despite no one believing in you.
Yes, it is okay that you do not want to get married, okay that you do not want to have children, okay that you have not been employed in over a year, okay that you are uncertain about the future…
What matters is that you do not give up — that you keep fighting and remain believing in yourself. This is your life and there is room for trial and error. Even when you despair about your life and your pain seems unbearable, don’t give up hope. Keep pushing towards the light. It might not always be apparent but the problems and pain in life never last. They say child birth is the most excruciating pain in the world, but even mothers forget that pain the moment they pass through it and hold their newborn baby in their arms.
This life you are living is YOURS and you can do whatever you want with it even when it goes against ‘expectations’. Dare to be different if it means finding your happiness.
And remember, it will never be too late for you to go back to school, learn how to dance, get a divorce, get married, move to a new country, quit the job you have had for 15 years or change careers. I know it’s a cliché but follow your heart and ive your life to the fullest. Be true to your spirit and do not miss out on the chance of being who you are meant to be and not of who you are expected to be.
Listen to your inner voice instead of those of other people, that voice is the most genuine one that knows and wants what is best for you.
I came to realise that life can mean anything you want it to be. Burst that safe bubble around you and explore all it has to offer. Stop existing and start living.