Some people buy a gadget, read the instructions, and then attempt to operate it. I am not one of those people. I read instruction number one, skip to number four, try to use the gadget, and call for help! I have been successful because I watched and did what those who read instructions do; I am a tactile learner. That’s why I think that if someone had given me this letter years ago, I would have breezed through it and rushed off to ‘experience’ my life.
You are twenty-one, you have big dreams, you see the horizon, and your heart leaps to find what lies beyond.
You are gathering your first-degree transcripts in hopes of attending The London School of Economics (LSE). You dream of working for the World Bank. What you do not yet know is that a desire to be an influencer on a global platform fuels your dream.
“Oh no,” you protest, “I just want to be a banker like my dad.”
Sssh, I have seen the future. You will not attend LSE. You will fall madly in love, as you will do several times in your life, and give up that dream for love, working for a local bank instead. You will be content building a home and raising a family because living this way has also been a dream of yours ever since you played house at six and declared, “I want to be the mother!”
After many years, the walls of your home will constrict, narrower than your spacious hallway, making your breathing strenuous, as though your lungs were crushed. You will watch the birds migrate in winter and return in spring and long to change the seasons of your life. Heartbreaks will accompany your flight into new territory. After a shaky start, you will soar and break your wing mid-flight. Your recovery will be long because you will consult with doctors who do not understand how to mend your wing until you finally realise that you have power to grow a new wing. You will no longer fear heartbreak because you will know the rhythm of your heart and where its broken pieces fit.
Only then will you control the thermostat of your happiness. You will fall in love again but this time with yourself and revel in the wonder of who you are. You will stop parroting and start speaking your own words, a talking bird no less, ha! One day you will share your journal with your world and their acceptance will be the impetus to share it with the world. On your saddest days, you will write, not about your sorrow or pain, but about things that make people laugh and share in their laughter. This is how your words will dry your tears.
You will enjoy goodwill and people will help you along the way, only, you must discern where one person’s help stops and another begins. You will burn bridges at first because although you were taught the earth is spherical, you were not taught that life is a circle and a 4 x 100 takes lesser time than a 400m race. If you find yourself in the ring alone or without help or friends, it will be your choice; someone somewhere will always be in your corner.
You will get to your Promised Land if you don’t hedge against making mistakes so much so that you live on the fringes of life, chauffeured in and out of existence by your fears. Your mistakes are semi-colons, you can write an independent clause after the pause. If you do this, you’ll see that nothing is wasted. Although you will not work for the World Bank, you will affect people all over the world, because words too are legal tender.
If you had to write a letter to yourself in hindsight, what would you say?
©Timi Yeseibo 2014
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