One of the interesting things in life is how two people can be so close, share interests and have great conversations, yet view issues from divergent prisms. A person’s thought pattern influences their outlook on life. It’s what makes them kowtow to popular opinion or hold a different view from the majority. I find that irrespective of the situation a person finds themselves in, their perception dictates their disposition to it.
So society has general rules…be born, start school, study a ‘respectable’ course, secure a good job, get married, and raise a family. For the most part, many tow this line and when they seem to be stuck in one of these phases, they panic.
Stares and unsettling questions are only a few of the consequences of not living up to societal expectations. While there’s nothing wrong with desiring to thread the popular path, those who are able to task their cognitive function escape the shackles of groupthink.
If only we choose to approach issues from the standpoint of individuality that divests us of the inclination to believe that we are not measuring up when we skip any of the stages others have drawn out for us, we would be far more at peace.
And for many of us, the test will come. If it hasn’t already.
Some have had theirs early in life…being orphaned at age two, a speech defect, being one of the few ones among friends to have impoverished parents, not gaining admission into the university when their peers were while others have had it smooth until a little later in life.
For them, it’s the long, unending job search, the frustration that comes with being at a job they hate or the exhausting shenanigans that come with many modern-day romantic relationships.
Then it happens, friends appear to be moving ahead. They have started families and ride exotic cars while we seem to be stagnant. The teasing comments and pitiful looks cloaked in prayers of concern are unmissable.
But what if we chose to see things differently.
The one who got into school three years after his mates could have spent that time learning a skill. The skill he puts into use when he gains the admission and which ensures he never has to ‘beg to apply’ when the people he once envied are scrambling for the few available jobs.
While their peers are burdened by the need to please in-laws and cater to growing kids leaving them no time to earn that masters degree or advance their careers, the unmarried, rather than rue their unattached status can revel in it because it gives them the latitude to acquire as many skills as they desire; start a business, travel and get lost in the sandy alleys of Timbuktu.
The married cannot choose to ‘get lost.’
And instead of the married to envy the single for being free to take decisions without recourse to another party, they can be grateful for the stable companionship they have secured in a world where humans are growing increasingly selfish.
Parents can take joy in the blessing of being direct nurturers to the next generation and the childless can explore the freedom that comes with being unencumbered with the demands of raising kids, because, let’s face it, your life changes forever when you have a child.
Nigeria frustrates the best of us, but how about we stay gratified that we do not have earthquakes and typhoons as an added source of anxiety? And weather that allows us to throw parties all year round? What if we chose to appreciate the huge blessing it is?
The preponderance of untapped youth energy and spunk can be viewed as potential to be harnessed rather than one that is wasting away.
People who get into employment at a later age tend to be a lot of mature in handling the politics that features in the corporate environment compared to their younger counterparts. This is a soft skill that is often a major factor in guaranteeing longevity in the workplace. And again, instead of cursing their luck or becoming embittered about their late start to life, they can smile about the advantage that being older bestows on them.
I have conquered the low times I have experienced by choosing to look on the bright side. A lost job is seen as a chance to get an even better one, a betrayal is considered an instruction to be more circumspect, and rejection is a catalyst for a greater comeback.
Someone can choose to see a termination of appointment as a valuation of their worth; betrayal to them is an indication that they aren’t deserving of loyalty. Rejection can send them into a state of depression.
But what does that do to their self-esteem?
Perspective, people! Perspective.