Opinion

You will not figure it all out

Martin Buber once said, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveller is unaware.” Throughout much of my years on this planet, life has always seemed like a great mystery to me. I’ve never been the type of person who has it all figured out. I was never the child who grew up with dreams of being a vet or a doctor in fact I never really had a goal that excited me for longer than a few weeks. I was never the little girl who grew up imagining my perfect wedding day, how many children I would have, or even what my life would be like. That just wasn’t me!

That’s not to say I wasn’t a dreamer, but my fantasies were more whimsical than realistic. Once I left high school the pressure of making it in the ‘real world’ loomed over me like a rain cloud ready to flood my life if I didn’t find some sort of direction. As a result, I started involving myself basically in anything that resembled a shred of ambition. I fumbled my way along, riding the ups and downs of life with little strategy or purpose in mind. Life to me felt like an enigma that I was somehow incapable of ever solving.

After several years of struggling to ‘get it together’, and numerous bouts of anxiety and depression as a result of feeling like a lost cause, I began to question the very idea of having it all figured out. I pondered the notion intensely, analysing my friends and family, whose own lives I used as case studies.

What I discovered was that even those whose lives I most envied did not have it ‘all figured out’. Admittedly they may have had more areas ‘figured out’ than me, such as their careers or relationships, but even so, they still had areas that remained incomplete.

This was a liberating discovery for me, and overtime I came to understand that life was indeed an enigma, but one that I was not meant to solve, one that I was not meant to ‘figure out’, but rather one that I was simply meant to enjoy.

Now I’m not going to lie to you and pretend that this revelation catapulted me toward my life calling where suddenly everything fell into place… this is reality, friends! I’m still figuring it out, I’m still just drifting through life on a wing and a prayer, and at times I’m still completely oblivious. This revelation did however set me on a path of guiltless self-discovery.

I no longer feel bad or broken in the absence of my ‘togetherness’. Instead, I have come to accept the fact that while I might be on a directionless journey, I am no less on a journey- to some place, to somewhere, to someone. So you see what I have finally figured out, is that it is ok to not have it all figured out.

Nobody “has it all” not women, not men, not presidents, not heiresses, not babies! The idea that there is one homogeneous definition of “it all” that everyone is supposed to desire is painfully reductive. People need to put this idea of you must have it all aside, it will not just make you drain yourself but it will definitely ruin your self-esteem and confidence because once you work so hard for something and it doesn’t happen the way you expect or when you expect it, you begin to think less of yourself and your capabilities.

Let life unfold in its own way; let your journey be the way it’s meant to be. Love your life, love what you do, and be the best you can be.

By Nana Alfred

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