I’m sitting here at again at my favourite cafe in the whole wide world, based on its coffee, atmosphere, easy access, and everything. You got it, I’m at Sensory Lab.
Here’s the thing: it’s quite an accidental thing to wind up here, having coffee by myself and doing whatever I used to be doing a couple of years back. I used to stay for two or three hours here – writing a story, reading a book, or even doing an assignment. Today, I didn’t bring anything but my phone and my journal. So this is what I did.
I’m catching up with my alone time and spending some time to recharge. It’s been a while.
This Melbourne trip has been quite an emotional journey. Meeting old friends who are one step further towards the future really makes you both proud and emotional at the same time. We used to talk about that subject, this tutor, those assignments, and this time, we’re talking about real life.
We’re talking about our next steps as adults, and that’s really, really scary.
I wonder why no one has ever told me that before.
That pressure’s real. Life’s waiting. Responsibility’s knocking on the door.
Somehow we all feel like children by the pool again, with some being pushed forcefully into adulthood and some decided to take the leap themselves. None of us know how to swim. But this time, no one is guiding us in the pool. They are guiding us by the pool.
We just need to swim by ourselves, praying we would master the skills before we get drowned, or get rescued before it’s too late.
It’s funny. Everyone goes through this phase of life. But everyone makes it looks so easy.
Transitioning to adult life, what is.
I have always wanted a smooth transition. I have always wanted to effortlessly move through life’s different phases, to get everything sorted out under my belt. I know I’ll make mistakes, and life will beat me down at times, but truthfully, I don’t want to make those mistakes.
I don’t want to fail.
I want to be on the elevator that keeps going up.
But life beats people down. And we all have our own battles to face.
It’s okay to not be perfect, you know? It’s okay to admit that you make mistakes and you don’t have everything figured out.
But somehow, it takes a long time for me to actually accept that.
In this race called life, it feels as if we are competing with each other. We want to succeed first, to succeed as young as possible, and to become a billionaire before the age of 30.
And in order to do that, we only tell others what we want to tell them. We show our success, not failures. We tell them about our upcoming opportunities, not mistakes. We share about the things we’ve done great, and not our weaknesses.
Then you’ll feel this sense of insecurity, as if wondering, “How does she become so perfect?” or “How can he figure everything out? He’s even younger than me.”
Those feelings creep in, stay in your head, fiddle with your mind, as if saying if you don’t have the next step in your life figured out, you are not where you are supposed to be.
Our social media profiles tell the perfect stories. The perfect pictures. We publish the ones where we are smiling and beaming, and hide the ones where we are crying to sleep at night.
We suddenly become a brand, and no longer a human.
It’s ironic that the world celebrates success and greatness. Being good is now not good enough, you need to be awesome. You need to be great. You need to be extraordinary and special and amazing.
And somehow everyone’s striving to be one, forgetting that it’s our mistakes that make us humans. It’s our failures that set us to the path of success.
In the past few days catching up with friends, I’m glad that I didn’t just share what’s going on great in my life. I’ve learned to share about my flaws and mistakes too – the ones that I’ve tried to hide as I’m afraid that it will make them love me less, that it will make them respect me less.
The ones that will make them realise that I don’t have everything under control.
Believe me, it was hard to share about the mistakes.
But I realised that these flaws and mistakes are what make me human. And when I start landing down on earth, people will lower their defensive barrier and start being humans too.
Then, and only then, we can have heart-to-heart conversations as equal, not as people who try to justify how great our lives are.
And that’s what life really is about.