I resented my father. I know his friends to be people who owns islands, planes, …houses with swimming pools. I would also resent my mother. She let my father give up everything in search of the meaning of life.
“Why did you let him do that?” I used to occasionally ask. Those were my juvenile days.
“Since young my dream was to have a husband and to serve him. To raise my own children. That’s what I did. No questions.”
Then I would think of my friends. Who when we were younger had no clear idea of what they wanted to do in life. Their replies were always “We’ll see where my grades take me.” And then now they’re what society would call “successful”. I felt like I was the daughter held by a leash, not allowed to join in the chase of life. I would make a damn good lawyer as I would make a damn good journalist as I would be a damn good psychologist. I know that. I know my friends would agree.
“I want you to do something else,” my father told me, disagreeing with my career choices.
So something else I did. From making $2000 in two nights, packing things into envelopes for a $80 profit, to buying my own fridge at 18, to building websites for people who thought they knew better, I did something else. I was embarrassed. I was a smart girl in school! I had all kinds of leadership roles to my name. People are going to think I didn’t continue with my education because I was academically challenged!
After that I came full circle. My friends with degrees to their names still hold grudges against others. People with a list of academic successes still find it awkward to talk to strangers comfortably. Smart girls still follow their nafs. I had overcome all these feelings. I thought it only made sense that other people would have too. But apparently not.
I tell myself it’s not my education background that makes me who I am. It’s my experiences in life. Though not a lot, but I had a variety. If my father had not ventured into other things, I would probably had only known the surface sea. Instead, as a daughter who is instinctively curious and whose curiosity is supported, I get to delve into the kaleidoscope of colours.
It actually doesn’t make any sense for an uneducated girl to have her travel expenses paid for to teach.
It actually doesn’t make any sense for an uneducated girl to have helped a university site free from hackers.
It actually doesn’t make any sense for an uneducated girl to have written books, and have one accepted for publishing.
But it happened to me.
When I hear about how people think we should have done better in life, I sigh. They don’t understand. People work hard now to look forward to retirement. I am just strolling through life, living my day one step at a time and I am at peace. I am living the retirement life already.
I won’t lie though, sometimes I still look at tall buildings and want to work there, to get a quicker, faster, stream of income that’s definite. But I forget: my sustenance has already been written for me.
Recently I was presented with an opportunity to work in a significant building, earning probably higher than my acquaintances with degrees. A typical 9-5 job. Computers, a desk, research, data. I would thrive in this environment.
My parents had their own reactions, of course.
“Are you sure? I thought you have many travel plans this year.”
“I can’t take days off?”
“It’s not that easy.”
“It’s okay. I can give up my travel plans for this working experience.”
And then I was presented with another opportunity. Whole new experience. Not an office job. Not a stable income. More effort. More work. More hustling. But I would be free.
I drove the long highway, approaching the toll, giving my options a thought. It was 11 AM and I was driving on the free roads. I always hear about these roads being congested, but I always managed to avoid it. The parking lot at my destination was full. I said a quick bismillah and within ten seconds I found an empty spot. I walked into the building to settle some paperwork. On the way, the photocopy shop was full. I thought I didn’t need anything photocopied. The lady at the desk then told me I needed to photocopy some of my documents. I said bismillah again and was glad to find the photocopy shop empty. Stream of crowd followed right behind me.
Alhamdullilah roads are always opened for me. I remind myself again that my sustenance had already been written, and I should just go with the flow. Don’t get caught up with the chase of life.
I think I know which path I’m going to take next.
I quote my father’s favourite David Archuleta song, “I have nothing to win, I have nothing to lose. Just trying to walk in my own two shoes. Gotta take my time now, it’s time for me to find out who I am.”
(as usual, I didn’t edit this post before clicking PUBLISH)