I’ve been living here in the south for over a year now and even though I still don’t have any real friends yet, I am starting to feel comfortable and ‘at home’ here. I love that I can have a cup of good coffee in the morning and still hear the birds chirping. I love that life here is simple and quiet. A stark contrast of what my life used to be in the city for more than a decade. But as nice as that sounds, seeing people here makes me sad at the same time. Some people here just don’t have a dream. Or maybe they have, but they think they can’t afford to dream because they don’t have options.
I grew up in a home that fosters curiosity and creativity. Quilting, crocheting, beadwork – these are just some of the small passion projects I tried to be good at as a child. I also studied how to play some musical instruments. People in our family are also voracious readers so it was natural for me to follow their lead too.
This led me to believe that I can do anything so long as I work hard for it. And that if I fail at one thing, at least, I have something else to do. I always had this inner confidence that even if I end up not having a good job in an office, I have some other skills that will help me earn a living.
When I quit college many years ago, I saw it as an opportunity to follow another path. I was pretty confident that even if I don’t have a degree, I can land a high-paying job because of my skills.
I was that confident.
That also shows how fucking privileged I am.
Not anyone can just quit their office jobs or quit college like me. I may sound like I’m bragging too much but not anyone has the same skills set as I have. Not anyone has access to what I have right now and most certainly, not anyone is as confident as I am. I don’t have mouths to feed and I only have myself to worry about.
I overheard my little sister talking to another kid in the neighborhood and the kid said something I will never forget. They were talking about what they want to be when they grow up. This is what he said. “When I grow up, I’m going to end up like my father and uncles – fishing and farming to earn money. We’re poor, so there’s no point in dreaming.”
It was the saddest thing I’ve heard in my life.
I’ve never heard a small child sound so defeated. Children normally have outrageous dreams.
I couldn’t sit still and I had to butt in and say something. I was teaching them how to make paper boats and I ended up telling the boy this;
“There is nothing wrong with fishing and farming. But when the time comes, you should know that you have a choice to become a teacher, an engineer, or whoever you want to be.” I told them that I didn’t even get to finish school, but I was still able to follow my dream.
We create our choices.
I read it somewhere that in order to make a choice or an option, you should have one. Some of us are trapped in unfortunate circumstances that leave us feeling like we don’t have an option for a better life.
I’d like to live my life giving people a glimmer of hope. To make them realize that we do have an option.
We have a choice. But first, we must create it.
Also read: 25 Things I Learned in 25 Years