It was 2004 and almost 5 months to the general elections. During these times, most political parties would be at their vibrant best, combing through all the smaller villages in the armpit of the country to solicit for votes. It is these times that children in the far-off hinterlands get the chance to feast their eyes on latest four-wheel drive automobiles.
During these times, the people who have been ignored by the urban elite get the opportunity to feel important too. Ministers visit them, they get to see the big players in the political business of the country. When they are lucky enough, the incumbent president will pass through their town and wave at them as he drove in his opened-top vehicle.
That was in Dunkwa-on-Offin. I was with some friends at that time, waiting for one such visit of the incumbent president then. As the convoy got to where we were standing, the crowd started cheering and one after the other, the presidential convoy kept passing us by. There was this man standing next to me. He should be in his fifties. This man wouldn’t even blink as these beautiful expensive vehicles kept rolling by…When they were all gone he turned to me and said; “The future will be sweet! When I grow up, I will be owning one of these vehicles. Trust me boy, this town will live to tell my stories when that day comes.”
Instantly I was struck with awe. This man should be fifty years and he still has the courage to talk about having some growing up to do? So I asked him; “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (He didn’t get the sarcasm behind my question). With this childish glee on his face, he answered; “I still have tomorrow to decide, and decide, I will. I have to be somebody who affords cars like these”
At 19 years old, I thought I’d figured out what life would be when I grew up. In my mind, I had to get education—plenty of it and everything would fall in place. When I was 10, my mum knew I would be a doctor. It’s a dream she sold to me. After I’d finished high school, I knew I would study law and become a judge, just like my dad. I went to school and studied Estate Management. My dreams changed! It changed to becoming an estate guru. All of a sudden buildings became appealing to me. I soaked all my desires in a dream of a future with buildings. After I left school, no Estate company will employ me. I wrote an ocean full of applications and none turned into a real job. I gave up! Oh yeah, I don’t have time to wait forever.
I started learning something new. Something I was promised will fetch me a job real quick. I went into Occupational Health and Safety. Just one week after studying that, I had a job…..bingo! My path is changed and no one was angry. My mum isn’t disappointed and my dad doesn’t even know what I do. He knows I have a job. But I want more. Two years ago I registered a company. The company collapsed right after I was giving the certificate to operate. Basically, I lost interest and decided not to pursue it any further. At a point in time, that company was everything to me. I dreamt of it as the foundation of my life—the ahaa moment my life had been waiting for. But then I lost interest because another idea came up. I wanted to be something else than the guy who built a company that provided Health and safety services for other companies.
Each day new ideas come up and I will switch. I’m interested in technology and want to build a technology-based company and grow it to become something huge. Yesterday, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. I’d stand in front of the mirror and practice a speech for hours without end. I’d even delivered a speech to an imaginary audience and see them give me a standing ovation.
That dream also fell flat. In my days when I was unemployed, I thought I could be a good actor. ow yeah, I’m that good. I went for a couple auditions, got cast in a movie I didn’t get time to shoot because I was doing something else I thought I had interest in. I’m 31 going on 32. A few days ago, in a reflective mood, I asked myself; “What will you be when you grow up”? The answer was simply this;
“Who the hell knows?! This isn’t the time to make hard and fast decisions, it’s the time to make mistakes. Take the wrong train and get stuck somewhere chill. Fall in love – a lot. Major in philosophy ’cause there’s no way to make a career out of that. Change your mind. Then change it again, because nothing is permanent”. (-Stephenie Meyer, Twilight Saga, Eclipse.)
So I soldier on. Knowing I can’t connect the dots looking forward as Steve Jobs once said. I can only connect them looking backward. I just have to believe that the dots will somehow connect in my future. Then all of my mistakes, all of the things I gave up and all of the dreams I once had will connect. Life is beautiful, even for people like us.
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