DISCLAIMER: This post contains many, many clichés. The reason being – they’re true. Deal with it.
I spend the majority of my waking life dreaming about the future. It is something that people around me have gotten used to; it is something that is positively labelled as ‘ambitious’. And most times, it is: my dreams of the future keep me focused, and make me work hard. However, I’m beginning to realise that there may be some unintended harms of this future-dreaming; of this wishing.
Aside from the fact that I often lose the time I have because I am not present in the ‘present’, a lot of my dreams, I realise now, are wrong – are unrealistic. I am a typical case of the ‘when x happens, things will be better.’ However, as we get told, that isn’t always the case. However, I don’t think we are told it enough.
THE GRASS IS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE.
Oh, if people could understand the truth in that statement! We are bombarded with messages that lives outside of ours are better than ours – the beauty of reality in movies, the dreams we create for ourselves in our heads. However, no one ever reminds about the ugly parts of those realities – that we will still have that annoying neighbor, or worse – that evil voice of self doubt within ourselves.
The past year has been a case and point for this. I spent about four and a half years looking forward to my first year at university. Towards the end of matric, I just couldn’t wait to move out – to get a fresh start. It was my time! I would find the cool, intellectual people who could finally understand me. I would be able to finally expand my mind with no challenge. I would be sophisticated; and I would have fun. I built up expectations.
However, it hasn’t been all sunflowers and daisies. While I was wishing to grow up, warnings didn’t really express to me the reality of it all: how facing a huge group of new people hella intimidating, and how university makes you question everything. That’s been the biggest thing for me: uncertainty. The past year at UCT, with RhodesMustFall, and student activism in general – as well as my courses – has forced me to question myself; how I am problematic and how nothing is certain. I have realized how greyscaled the world is, and that has resonated into a shaded reality. I haven’t really known who I am, which has made finding friends who understand ‘me’ hard, and I guess, my reality isn’t as crystal clear as I thought it would be.
I can’t help but look back on last year, and the years before, and realise that although I was wishing for a better future, that reality was pretty great, despite it’s imperfections. And maybe, as hard as the last few weeks have been, I need to start doing the same for right now.