Your dreams deserve a chance!

13 August 2019 | Columns

Ester Kamati

Many individuals, the youth in particular, live their lives in a box and never get to explore. In this regard, exploration does not mean going on adventures - even though this is vital. What’s even more miserable than not exploring places is not exploring and discovering yourself.

Individuals who come from strict households are often told not only how to act and how to live, but how to think and who to be, and that is a complete waste of who they are. This isolation is worse than being locked up physically. It hits differently when you are in a space where you are given a false idea of freedom that doesn’t really exist.

Take the example of parents who try to live out their dreams on their children. Children who become the parent’s second chance. This is the typical case of a pageant mom who drags her child to every pageant that she comes across, all because she didn’t meet the requirements or did not excel at it when she was younger. This is where the young individual, who is still trying to discover him- or herself, is driven to a dead end because they cannot imagine a life beyond what they have become accustomed to.

Now this is not me dragging the Beyoncé ‘Pretty hurts’ song to print, is a realisation that I had recently how we are given such false ideas of freedom by the people around us. This is not just about the sash-crazy mom, it is equally about that father who emotionally bullies their child into a medical or accounting career to “retain the family legacy”.

It is equally about that grandmother who paints your uncle as an unemployed, dependant drunk because he chose to be an artist. In all these cases, the bottom line is that if you do not carry out what is expected, the title “family disappointment” does not cease to become a familiar description when you are around.

It is that same feeling of being in Woolworths with N$50. Sure, you have the freedom to spend on anything that you would like but the budget constraint holds you back. Now the people who constantly try to steer you in a particular direction are that budget constraint because they will never truly allow you to soar.

Once you step one foot out of that line of expectation, you so easily stop being the favourite child and that is not fair. I feel that individuals deserve the chance to explore, discover and show the world who they are. You are in no way doing the youth a favour by trying to define them; be it with religion, culture or your idea of what they ought to be doing.

Carrying out tasks that are pleasing to other people and being in everybody’s good books is not an accomplishment. As a matter of fact, being rewarded to put your needs aside is not a reward, it is rather a self-sacrifice and character suicide because you shut yourself down in hopes of lighting up somebody else’s light.

A candle is special because it burns out to light the way for others but what happens when it finally burns out? There is no way of revival and the people you once lit the room up for get a replacement candle or better yet, a light bulb. Well, while we are on the topic of cliché quotes, you cannot pour from an empty cup, so take care of yourself first before you can think about pleasing other people. There is a fine line between being selfless and completely shutting yourself down for the amusement of other people. If chasing your own dreams is selfish, then do just that because at the end of the day, it is better to lie in bed knowing you have lived than to stay awake with regrets of what could have been.

In conclusion, nobody has any business telling somebody else who to be. This supresses the person’s true character and even though this person was capable of great things, the suppression reduces their capability to thrive. If the person was meant to be in the entertainment division, they won’t thrive in a law career. For an individual whose calling is to do make-up, an accounting profession will not contour her creativity and if the person is into computers, they may not excel in a police job.