The Cheat Sheet

A friendly reminder to all twentysomething’s starting out:

In the world, you’re given a “cheat sheet.” It’s applicable to you and me, until we turn 21 years old. It starts with graduating high school and going to college where you study a major selected at 18 years old. Four years later you substitute your diploma for a steady job. These are “certain’s” in life some people don’t question. But one day, you find yourself interested in Literature, Music, Architecture…Sewing. Topics that you had no clue of investigating when you were younger. But, you’ve graduated, you’re working. There’s no room to experiment. You’d begin to wonder, has time run out? Or is there a next logical step?

Time is a man-made concept from the 1500’s. It did not come with creation. Time shows the gradual effect of life’s “later.” It has a start, middle and end. You cannot skip, rewind or pause the parts you love the most. You have to tolerate the bad, appreciate the good. And as seconds melt into hours into days, life will become a quicksand leaving behind the residue of where you thought you were supposed to be.

Sure, we cannot deny time. It forces us to learn from our failures. It encourages us to be patient with what we don’t know. However, focusing too hardly on it makes dwelling on society’s pressures and ‘deadlines’ quite agonising to take. From the right time to start working, up until having children. There will always be some upgrade for us to take whether a person is 20 or 45.

Still, what could life be like without time? From an abstract perspective, it would be similar to that of an abstract painting. You get to pick and choose where to start from. The part that completely takes your breath away. Abstract translation would be different to every person. Deep to one, shallow to another. The painting is ageless, you could stare at it for hours. The painting is beautiful, it tells you a new story each time it’s revisited. The painting has imperfections, it revives scars buried from years go. This is where your life changes, because through your eyes, the painting is vibrant, alive, and its story is not yet over. There are no pressures, no deadlines. Just the present.

Those who don’t argue time usually like to live by routine, accept sequential events – the expected & unexpected. They take steps forward and don’t stray from what’s known. Fear quietly stems within, that life is not being lived to its fullest potential. But will this ever be admitted?

Those who question time do so with every aspect of life. What is the point of it, if there even is one? They believe in endless possibility and how to reap the marrow out of life. They take five steps in one and often diverge.

Although we can argue both sides of the case, one thing’s for certain – we won’t be tossing our certain’s on a whim unless it was part of our plans. At least that’s what they tell us. There is no cheat sheet where you get a A+ on how you spent your time, if it were of value, or filled with a good career pathway and love. There is no limit to how much interest a person can acquire in one lifetime.

It took me a year and a half to realise that the borders placed on my life, were set by none other than me. It took me a year and a half to learn that nourishing my soul does not stop after graduation. It does not stop when I started working. It is a constant journey. Besides what you may think, there is nobody holding you back from chasing what you actually want.


-S. xx

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