“Made a wrong turn, once or twice. Dug my way out blood and fire. Bad decisions that’s alright, welcome to my silly life” – Perfect, Pink
Growing up I used to yearn for the day I turned twenty-five. Twenty-five for me was that age when everything in my life would make sense. I figured by then I would have lived long enough to understand the ways of the world and I would have done enough with my life to silence even my worst critics. At twenty-five I would be established in my career, I would have my own place, a beautiful car and most importantly I would be married or at the very least be engaged. At twenty-six with less than two months to go till my twenty-seventh birthday, I could not be further from all the above aspirations. I made one crucial mistake when I was sitting there planning my future, I forgot to take into account all the bad decisions I would make, all the mishaps and mistakes that would derail me from path that led to my dreams. I smile as I think back because I have no choice but to admit that it was all rather naive of me.
I had a moment of panic a month or two ago when it suddenly hit me that 2012 would be the year of my ten-year high school reunion. I am filled with so much shame and want to cower away in a little corner and not attend because quite frankly I feel like I have nothing to show for the past ten years. Well I lie, almost nothing. I do have my CA qualification, too bad I cannot take that with me and beam with pride and adoration when I introduce it to everyone. It seems to pale in comparison to the husbands, new babies, luxury cars and stunning homes that people now have. Ironic when I think about it because even in high school my intelligence and outstanding academic record was all I really had going for me. As the person who came top of my year I cannot help but feel that I have a lot to prove. In addition to proving that I have made something of my life, I also have to prove that I did not sacrifice a “real life” for academics. As I sit here I have to wonder if I did not do exactly that?
Just as I am about to sink into a new level of depression, the rational side of my brain reminds me that I have beaten a lot of odds along the way and I have come very far. Despite my upbringing, despite all the mistakes I have made, despite being a teenage mother, I am still one of the 32,000 odd qualified chartered accountants. Not only that but I have traveled further than some will ever do in their lifetimes. While admittedly I did not achieve all I had set out to achieve, I still can say I’ve lived abroad for a year and I stuck it out for a whole year even though every fibre of my being was telling me to come home after just a month. In all that I have done in the past ten years, I didn’t just cave in to my circumstances. I did not just accept the glass ceiling that was imposed on my success. I have dug myself out of more holes than I care to remember. While I may not have much to show for all I have done, all I have accomplished by way of possessions, I know I have learned a lot and am well on my way to being on my way to being the woman I want to be.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says that there is a time and place for every matter under the sun. If only I could remember this when I find myself envious of someone else’s success and blessings instead of remembering this scripture long after the tears of frustration and the shame of all I don’t have have engulfed me. Last night I lay in bed, near tears begging God to bring my husband my way. Almost immediately I could hear the response and it was a resounding NO! He said to me I was not ready yet. I wanted to launch into a full-scale argument with Him but kept still long enough to realise we had gone through this one too many times before and deep inside I knew exactly what He meant when He said I wasn’t ready. Funny though because this quiet acceptance has not stopped me from yearning over and over again today for someone to love and who will love me. The Bible reading, God believing Christian in me knows too well that He will grant me blessings according to His divine time and plan. The frustrated, impatient part of me who feels immense pressure to produce tangible success just won’t accept this and keeps begging God in the hope that He will grow tired of my pleas and just give me what I want and yet I know that won’t happen.
It’s amazing the amount of pressure that society places on us. What amazes me even further is the number of people who feel entitled to put you under pressure. While people feel obliged to give you opinions on how you should live your life and what you should and shouldn’t have, it’s quite ironic that they will not lift a finger to help you achieve these goals that they have set for you. I have been back home for two weeks now and I am already sick and tired of being asked when am I buying a car! No one’s offering to help me with installments or the deposit so why ask me like they’ve given me money to buy one and I did not do so? The very same people who have never picked up their phones to ask me how I am in the twelve months I was in Edinburgh are the ones asking for gifts from me. I struggled to even buy a plane ticket home with no one contributing a cent and now I’m selfish for not bringing anything back for anyone? I am in awe of the arrogance of some people.
As 2011 draws to a close and I think ahead of what lies in 2012, I am appreciative of the things I have been through in the past year that are bringing me closer to the woman I am destined to be. In as much as I made so many mistakes, shed so many tears and felt lonelier than I have ever felt in my entire life, I am starting to realise there was purpose in all that pain. I was meant to lose the people I lost this year because they were enablers; allowing me remain stagnant and mediocre. The loneliness and isolation I felt was necessary to remind me that there is nothing more important than companionship and also taught me that you cannot be a good companion to someone else till you know how to be one to yourself. My stint of separation from God was necessary to ground me, remind me that I am nothing without Him and remind me that my relationship with God should be the basis of all that I am and all that I do.
Looking back at all I set out to achieve this year and all that I thought I would have achieved by now, it is apparent that I am far from the finish line. But like Jessie J’s ‘Who you are’ reminds me: “It’s ok not to be ok. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your heart but tears don’t mean you’re losing, everybody’s bruising, just be true to who you are.” I am at peace, even if temporarily, with where I am in my life and with all that I have and don’t have because it is simply not my time yet. I take comfort in knowing that next year will be yet another year I can try again and continue to strive towards God’s plan for my life. I have no doubt that I will stumble and fall along the way, I will not let that stop me because there is greater victory in pressing forward in the face of adversity than there is in succumbing to adversity.