Prelude: Letter to my 17-year-old self from 25 years of “living”.
I just stopped crying. Yesterday, I had an argument with my parents because of something stupid I did at the start of this month- November.
I got scammed.
Then, spent the whole month broke, barely eating a full meal a day and willing myself out of the horrible feelings I had when I discovered how dumb I had been. On a Skype call, I decided to tell the ol’ people because I had finally found a solution to paying the money I had borrowed (and lost).
I chose that particular moment because I know my parents well. They would die for me. They could sell their organs in order to give me money so I don’t starve. I didn’t want that to happen. So, I never told them. And when I did…well…I wish I hadn’t.
I felt incredibly worse.
All night I couldn’t sleep. My best friend, a medical practitioner, once told me I was bipolar. I don’t think I am a severe case. Plus, bipolar disorders are a serious and painful issue. I don’t pride myself with it.
But, I definitely have mood swings that usually send those who don’t know me wondering who ( and when) I am.
By the way, he suggested I meet a psychotherapist. I declined.
During our Whatsapp discussion today, I poured out to him and started crying. I haven’t cried in a long time. It felt very good.
I completed my undergraduate programme last July and I am set to graduate next month. I am utterly and completely unexcited about it. I don’t feel as though I have accomplished anything. I am still scared of the future and smeared with so much baggage from the past years and pressure — internal and external — that I don’t really care about the said event.
Here is what he said:
You need to celebrate your graduation: 1. I plan to be there. 2. It should remind you of how far you’ve come. Think back. 5 years ago. Things weren’t half this good.
3. We need happy moments bro. They’re few but we need them.
Number 2 hit me. I looked back at how far I had come. From the scrawny kid who knew nothing about sex, to the less scrawny, slightly confident, heart broken, sarcastic, ambitious, mild extrovert with a penchant for technology, and movies made before the 2000s — unless they are Tarantinos. Duh.
He was right. I have come a long way. And I needed to put things in perspective. I could write a list of my accomplishments. All the women I fell in love with and all the times I felt like letting myself starve to death and didn’t.
There would be 2011. The year I made my father travel miles only to come meet me sprawled in my hostel room too demotivated to even take a bath.
Ha! 2008. When I didn’t even bother to find out about my second semester results in Biochemistry. I still don’t know them now.
2010- during our first field assignment as young Medical Laboratory Science students, I came to the slow,silent realization that I would hate work in a lab. It took me two more years to do something about it.
Or 2012, when I made my parents cry because I quit school and had no idea what I wanted to study.
Or way back to 2005 when I listened to my counselor instead of my gut and chose to study the sciences. Then had to fight everyday to stay sane and maintain the only thing I thought I was good at- good grades.
Before James Altucher, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and the multiple mentors I hunt down daily.
Before I ever listened to a podcast or even thought of doing one.
It seems like such a lifetime ago.
Ergo, what better way to put it than a letter to my 17-year-old self from 25 years of “living”?