What If?

I am always ranting about individuality and uniqueness. I know there are some universal laws, but for the most part, I believe different things work for different people. That's why although I love learning from other people's experiences, I understand that my own path in life to success (whatever I may define success as) is UNIQUE. You should glean from other people's life experiences but be conscious about your own uniqueness. Giving these facts, you would agree with me that  trite messages and talks about hard work, hustling, breaking barriers etc. might not be equally significant for everybody. I mean, of course you should work hard and aim for the best IF, and only IF that's what YOU want. I stumbled on this brilliant article talking about life expectations versus personal ambitions/expectations/goals. I thought about just pasting the whole thing here, because every single word was GOLD. But, no. Instead, I will quote the particular sentences that struck a chord in my heart and maybe add my two cents.

"What if I all I want is a small, slow, simple life? What if I am most happy in the space of in between. Where calm lives. What if I am mediocre and choose to be at peace with that?"

Seriously, what if? Maybe you don't want a side hustle. Or you don't want to ever own a jet. What if you don't even want to be the best at what you do. What if you really are just okay with being satisfied and being okay. Perhaps you don't care about the four-hours-a-night-sleep type of life. Maybe you want divide your time into your many passions, rather then neck deep in one thing. It's okay to be you. It's okay to not want more. Your choices are valid. Sometimes many people aren't necessarily hardworking or passionate, they are just greedy.

"What if I never really amount to anything when I grow up – beyond mom and sister and wife. But these people in my primary circle of impact know they are loved and that I would choose them again, given the choice. Can this be enough?" 

If we are being honest, everyone will not be great. Yeah you heard that right. Everyone will not be a Linda Ikeji who bought a 500 million Naira house. You might try to live that same path; you will end up frustrated, angry, and just plain depressed. Because you are trying HARD to be who/what you are not. Shonda Rhimes in her memoir, Year of Yes mentioned how she never dreamed of becoming a TV Writer. She just wanted to be a Toni Morrison, which sucks because there is already a Toni Morrison. Rhimes would eventually become the Queen of TV and of course meet the famous Toni Morrison. Guess what Morrison wanted to talk about throughout dinner: Grey's Anatomy. Don't try to be anybody else; focus on being you.

"What if I never build an orphanage in Africa but send bags of groceries to people here and there and support a couple of kids through sponsorship. What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough."

Again, everyone will not be Malala or Dr. King or Malcom X. That's valid too.

"What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, Spirit, Soul healthy. Am I enough?"

PREACH!!!!!! Look, this one spoke to me so much, because it perfectly described who I am. I need UNSCHEDULED TIME. I need time to just stare into nothing and let my mind wander. I need time to mindlessly watch TV.  I need SPACE. I need these things if I am ever going to be healthy. I am not a hustler by nature. Does that mean that I am mediocre? Absolutely not.

"What if I am too religious for some and not spiritual enough for others. Non-evangelistic. Not bold enough. Yet willing to share in quiet ways, in genuine relationship, my deeply rooted faith. And my doubts and insecurities. This will have to be enough."

If you read through the entire list on her blog, there's no way you wouldn't identify with at least one of all she wrote. But then I began to wonder. How? Why? Does it even make sense for one person to be brazen, determined, fierce, fearless, sanguine, audacious, and then another is quiet, timid, reserved, demure? Of course it does. One time I was furious that I was very upset by something that didn't affect me in anyway. I thought, why do I bother so much? But then it occurred to me that God made me this way. He put together all my quirks, foibles, perfections, to form a whole me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb." Psalms 139:13-15

So you see, I am perfect just the way I am. And so are you.

"No, don't say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, 'Why have you made me like this?' When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn't he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?" Romans 9: 20-21

It's so easy to wonder why we were made a particular way, instead of embracing who we are. The presence of the Internet, which makes us seem closer than we actually are magnifies the need to compare our lives with others. And when you do this, you will certainly fall into a very deep dark hole. You will only come out of this hole when you evaluate your life: ask yourself what makes you tick, what gives you the greatest joy and satisfaction, what makes you come alive, what do you want? Answer these questions, and ignore HOW others go about their own lives or HOW others ask you to live your own life. That way your focus is on you.

Continue being you.