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It Might Take A While To Get There and That’s Not a Bad Thing

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Most times when we step onto a path we know where it’s going to lead. When we can’t see where that is we find comfort in the footprints that precede us.  And when its bleakest to see we listen for the voices that have left their remnants along the way in the hope that they guide us.

At times, our own paths look nothing like that.

They’re more like driving on roads with no roads signs to unknown destinations.  They’re more like finding comfort in the virtues of our own expectations. They’re more like listening to the voices of those that have done it before in the hope that we might one day.

They mostly sound like “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “Good things come to those who wait” – or some quote behind some waterfall on Instagram.

And there’s times when we internalize those voices or see those destinations and play them out in our heads in the hope that they’ll become our reality – and maybe there’s times when they make that road slightly more bearable.

But sometimes we wake up and realize that we don’t want to build Rome.  That we just want to finish that degree. Or get that promotion. Or get to that thing that shouldn’t take as long as it is.

And in those moments we want something to make that path smoother.

We want to remove the rocks, the pebbles and the dirt.

Often its because we think that those impurities on our path are deflections from our own direction. We look at them like obstacles to the place we want to go to.

We often don’t think of paths as compilations of impurities. Of obstacles overcome time and time again.

And even though it might have taken a while, they were moulded by their own to process to become what they are today.

And that’s not a bad thing.

 

© Hudson Biko

Photograph: Warren Wong

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

You’re Allowed To Stand Still

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We’re always going. From beds to coffee shops, to offices, places and spaces that constitute fragments of our sustenance. To crawling cars at half past four. To homes that take us back at the end of it. To dinner tables. To beds. To all of it. All over again.

Stuck in this constant grind. Moving towards our perceptions of success. Of satisfaction in a world that looks like it might move past us if we’re half past it. If we aren’t doing everything we think we’re meant to be doing. If we don’t get out of the bed to begin with.

And most times that’s part and parcel of our our own internal movement to something greater. Understanding and chasing our dreams and aspirations – even on the mornings we rather not.

But sometimes we can’t really do that.
Sometimes we can’t really go.

Maybe ‘can’t’ isn’t the right word. Because parts of us know that we have in the past. Because parts of us want to with every fibre that makes them, them. Because we’ve been told that the world doesn’t know the word “can’t” – that it moves on without us. That we can’t be left behind.

Maybe there is no right word that truly encapsulates those moments of apparent immobility. Because they feel exactly like that. Like drinking out of empty coffee mugs. Like the cars crawling. Like standing still in a world that moves past us.

But everything that surrounds us exists irrespective of us.

We are our own microcosm of a universe.

Made of everything that makes us. Of action and inaction. Of mobility and immobility. Of moments.

And in those moments when we stop to breathe, when we stand still to take in the world that surrounds and lives within us, we find our own little coffee shops.

Each facilitating parts of our own unique journey. Each making that next step that much greater. Each forming our own internal satisfaction.

Each and every one of them shaping our own microcosm of a universe. All over again.

Written By: Hudson Biko

Photograph: Alex Iby

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

If It Feels Like You’re Not Really Doing Anything Right Now, That’s Okay

Joshua Earle.jpgPhotograph: Joshua Earle

 

From the subtle to the obvious fragments of its existence. From the crawling caterpillars to the racing cars. From the involuntary blinks to the calculated footsteps. From all of its simplicities and its intricacies, movement not only surrounds us, it is us.

Continuously evolving. Pervading the realms of the conscious and the subconscious. Continuously reminding us of its existence.

And living amongst that, we feel that its part and parcel of everything that we have to be. That we have to continuously move. That as much as it is us, we have to be it as well.

But sometimes we aren’t. Sometimes we feel stagnant. Sometimes it feels like we are going somewhere but not really going. Living in this paradox of mobility and immobility. And because of that we try to force things to happen. To reach this major thing we’re aiming for, the fastest way we can. To be that racing car.

But racing cars aren’t always racing. Expectations aren’t always a reality. Pressure doesn’t always mould diamonds. And we find ourselves where we were to begin with. Only this time, more aware of our shortcomings. More aware of of our immobility. More aware of the distance to the thing we’re aiming for.

And you know what? That’s okay.

The tortoise always gets to the finish line, regardless of what the hare does.

That’s the part of the story we were never really told. Irrespective of the pre-conceived notions we hold in realms we call expectation, everything evolves and moves at the rate at which it does.

Yes. You have the capacity to determine certain facets of its trajectory. Yes. You are the master of your own masterpiece. Yes. Try the hardest that you possibly can.

But when you reach out for something and feel nothing at the end of it. When you see something but can’t really look at it. When the crawling caterpillar takes forever to turn into a butterfly. Know that it will all be okay.

If it feels right and every part of you wants it bad enough. It’s part and parcel of your own metamorphosis. Every involuntary and calculated step is a dissection of the simple and the intricate parts of the greater labyrinth. And when you eventually find its exit.

When you eventually feel like you’re really doing something. You’ll realize that there was never a racing car, a hare or a tortoise. Only you.

A paradox. Continuously evolving.

 

Previously published by Thought Catalog at www.thoughtcatalog.com.

My Future is Uncertain and That’s Okay

 

clem-onojeghuo

A multitude of questions that have resonated across the realm of my early existence, each differing in their frequency and complexity. Many of which I really didn’t mind answering.

But there was always one, in a concoction of perceived simplicity and retrospective conviction that I never really knew how to respond to: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

No matter how much I tried, I was always lost in its obscurity. I never really understood how I was expected to know what I planned to do with my expected existence, especially when my footprint had barely scratched the continuum of time. I never really understood how we could speculate on the future when the present was so prevalent.

I still don’t. But I couldn’t say that. They were there, waiting for a response. A world beaming with expectation. Each profession brimming with its own association. So, I gave them exactly what they wanted. Manufactured a response. Sometimes, I would be fortunate enough that their attention would be diverted towards something entirely different. Sometimes I wasn’t. Sometimes it would wander further into convoluted debate.

“Don’t do this. Don’t do that. Do this. Do that. This is better.” Repeat.

I think we’re always trying to understand our lives. Either that or someone tries to understand it for us. And at its epitome is the undefinable, that which we can’t see. We’ve surpassed the past; we perceive the present. But the future, the future is unchartered territory. And we’re motivated by the eradication of its uncertainty.

I think that’s what scares us most. That’s why we try to eradicate all semblances of its mystery. That’s why we plan every part that we possibly can. That’s why we’re always aiming for something. And that’s okay. By societal standards, it would be senseless not to.

But we can’t actually plan for the future; we tell ourselves we can but all we actually do is plan pathways and hope we end up where we think we should be.

And when we don’t. We dissolve in the absence of achievement. We falter underneath the fallacy that is predictability. We resign to regret and reservation.

We say that we’ve failed.

I think everything happens for a reason and a purpose. Sometimes, we’re so distracted by how everything else doesn’t happen that we don’t see what that reason is. Sometimes, we’re so busy wallowing behind pre-conceived notions of the future that we don’t pay attention to the present.

This is not about being misguided or unambitious. This is about recognising redefined trajectories. This is about realising the boundless opportunities that are right before us when we care to look past failure. This is about challenging the notions of certainty. This is about enjoying the journey even in anticipation of the destination.

This year, I’m going to begin to a new chapter in my life. I don’t know if the major I’ve chosen is going to lead me somewhere. I don’t know if I’ll end up where I think I should be. But I’m fine with that. Because I realise that somewhere is somewhere after all.

The future in all its complexities is composed of a collation of thens, nows and afters.

And amongst it all, all we can truly control is the current. So control it. Go into unchartered territory. Embrace the uncertain. Be senseless. Maximize it in its entirety. Repeat.

© Hudson Biko

Photograph: Clem Onojeghuo