The past few months have been monumental when I look back on them. It is perhaps because realisation comes in so unexpectedly. They were those in which I took a step forward, decided what my life was going to be about. I always thought I’d done that in my second year of A Levels, I knew what I wanted to do – medicine. But as I sat in one examination hall, answering a list of MCQs, my mind raced back and forth. Past dreams and wishes coming back to me and the immediate past mingling with it, threatening to engulf all ideas. I kept telling myself I was doing the right thing. Isn’t this what people expect you to do? Pursue medicine? Isn’t that so impressive? My mind was continuously reasoning, as if skipping every now and then on two sides of a line – practicality and on the other side, dreams and all those things I yearned to be.
What I yearned to be was something which seemed so much out of reach, it seemed to exist in a sphere where people did not. And that’s when things clicked, fell into place. What I was doing was following a stereotype, perhaps I had become so keen to meet expectations and benchmarks that who I was, what I wanted to do, had no meaning. I was part of this race to reach the finish line, and what the finish line symbolised or what came after that, was not of any concern.
It was then that I thought that I did not wish to live a life of fulfilling expectations, a life of meeting people’s ideas of success. It was what changed things around. It made me realise that at the end of the day, my lifespan will be like the blink of an eye, my moments must be hence spent filled with self-fulfilment and reaching to the expectations of the One Being, Allah, who created you. Why not thus make it a journey that suits you best?
People have been shocked, or surprised and sometimes, quite scornful. But then, they will always be, whatever you do. Hence, it was just a small step for me then, a leap of faith. My parents knew why I was doing it, they wanted me to be happy, and that was it. Being a good science student doesn’t necessarily mean that you wish to become a doctor or engineer. Neither does it mean that you cannot enjoy studying literature – rather, that has been one subject I have found hard to let go of. Going for social sciences or liberal arts or humanities doesn’t mean that I have lost all hope. Some people even happened to surmise my parents were stopping me from becoming a doctor because of the years I would have spend studying medicine.
Whoever is reading this, if you are making a career decision and are scared of ‘log kyaa kahenge’, never be. Live it being happy doing what you love, so that in the end, you don’t end up blaming society or those around you. It is you who will be living your life, do not live it for ephemeral moments of glory. Live it being who you are.
I end this monologue with a piece of Fleur Adcock’s poetry:
‘Goodbye, sweet symmetry. Goodbye, sweet world
of mirror-images and matching halves,
where animals have usually four legs
and people nearly always two;
where birds and bats and butterflies and bees
have balanced wings, and even flies
can fly straight if they try (……)
(…..)goodbye to the sweet certitudes of our
mammalian order, where to be
born with one eye or three thumbs
points to not being human. It will come.’
(from her poem – Last Song)
I must not leave this blog-post incomplete without a shout-out to my family and friends who supported me in my decision. Thank you!
All praise be to Allah, the Best of Planners.