I just recalled an episode of a stand up comedy show by Trevor Noah where he tells the audience that he feels walking is mundane. Yes walking. Taking those steps, running, shuffling, sauntering, jogging; there’s a wide array of words to describe the human act of moving from one place to another. Sometimes I just wish I was a bird. Come to think of it-birds are among the luckiest creatures in the world.
Birds can walk on the ground and fly. The can build their nests on trees so tall we can’t even see them. They don’t have an occupation, nor do they pay bills or have endless arguments with their partners.
Birds are the very embodiment of freedom. In my next life, I want to be a bird. Not a duck or chicken. An eagle. I want to fly higher than all other birds. I want to soar up the sky; my wings spread out, and savour the beauty of Mother Nature. I want to spot my next meal when I am 100 metres above the ground. Take my time. And come hurtling down swiftly to collect it with my strong, sharp pointed talons. I want to build my nest in the tallest tree in the neighbourhood, to keep away from the negative influences of other creatures.
But I digress.
Life is so predictable. You come to the world and find rules made for you. You’re born to a prison. In countries like mine, you’re born into debt. The first stages of a man’s life is spent following the rules of parents, then comes school, jobs, marriage, and so on. Before you realize it, your kids are all grown and you’re wishing to die and be with most of your buddies who are already six feet under.
That you have to follow all the rules disgusts me. I’ve met some people who told me that one needs a purpose in life. If you don’t discover your purpose, you’re as good as a cat, they say. Note that a cat spends most of its life sleeping. And then dies.
What then if you can’t find your purpose? I have friends who wonder why they can’t find their talents. They have interests, but not talents. They know I have a knack for writing. They call it my gift. They ask themselves why they can’t find a something they are really good at. Some even tell me they will make sure they have discovered theirs soon. (How will they look for it?)
We’re living in a world where a woman over thirty is considered damaged goods if she’s not married. We’re living in a world where you go to school so you can qualify to get a job. We’re living in a world where it’s considered abnormal if you choose not to follow the beaten path, but to create your own. And so like prisoners shackled and manacled, we make a single file and follow a road to our destiny.
I want to be free; I want to break a few rules. I don’t want to spend my life like a robot. I want to look into the eyes of my kids some day and tell them they can be different. You see, most people end at mediocrity when they choose to follow that familiar path. I don’t want that. I want to be different. In a way that’s beautiful. In a way that inspires everyone around me.