The first decision I ever made as an adult was to drop out of school.
As my mother stared at me in disbelief, tears in her eyes, she asked me why and I said “I want to be happy. I’m not happy.” and started crying. She looked at me like I’d gone mad as my father rolled his eyes.
“Ware [You say] happy? Get your degree and that will make you happy.”
I didn’t budge and neither did they.
My aunts came wondering what had gone wrong. My father stopped speaking to me and my mother seemed to wither away.
One of my aunts asked me why I wouldn’t go back and when I told her it’s because I didn’t want to, she said “Life is not about what you want” to which I responded “Then what is the point in living?” She didn’t have an answer for me.
I stayed home for close to a year. Wallowing mostly. In self pity, shame.
Was I wrong? Why couldn’t I be miserable and yet focused like the other kids? Had I shamed my family because I didn’t want to be one of those people who wake up at 36 and think “Fuck. I wasted it all.”
The worst part was, I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do. I had simply jumped off a cliff with no parachute and I felt silly.
My father would lie to people as I stood next to him and tell them I was still a Business student. My mother would look away, smile her sad smile and sigh. Me? I became annoyed with society. It was then that I realized just how expectations can steal your joy if you let them.
I wasn’t doing what I was expected to do and so I was considered a failure.
I had to choose between going back and soldiering on, hating every moment, and getting through where I was now.
I couldn’t go back.
Things had already gotten bad, how much worse could it get?
A few months later I applied and got accepted to a school in SA. Everything looked good, My mother was happy for me and we were excited. Until my father, being the one with the finances needed to pay for my fees said “I’m not paying for her to do anything that doesn’t make sense” and walked away.
10 days before I was set to leave.
Again, I wondered if I’d made the right decision.
After a few more months of self loathing and doubt I was finally accepted to study Journalism here.
I can’t say I was happy, I try to avoid that, but I can tell you it felt right.
Were my parents pleased now?
No, not really.
Because Journalism wasn’t a “real course” and they wanted me to go back and try Business again.
What I learned from that is as much as parents claim to have good intentions, a lot of them need to tell us outright “I will only be happy with your Life if it goes how I want it to.”
Now, when people ask me what I do with my Life I have a very proud “Nothing” ready. For the next month or so. Then I explain why and I get the “You’ll be starting first year again?” question like that’s the worse thing to ever happen to someone.
And I proudly say “Yes, doing a course I love.”
The sooner you decide what you need to do, the better.
A lot of people don’t even realize that in a few years, they’ll be miserable. They think they’re in a bad space now, but when you look back and see all the time you wasted and none of it was because you wanted to do it, you didn’t enjoy any of it, there’s a certain kind of sadness and shame that creeps in.
Realizing you had all that time and all you did was give it to someone else to live for and through you.
We tend to look at people who think about their lives before deciding to live as idiots. As if they’re wasting their time and they’re weak but what’s so strong about following a routine everyone else has?
Some people are content doing what they’re supposed to.
Others only know how to live how they want to.
But I get it though.
“The concept of school seemed so secure.” – Kanye West