My (not) little brother Benjie,
Now that you have completed the full cycle of education, the very last bits of your childhood have been stripped away and adulthood has come beckoning. It’s certainly not as alluring as advertised. In fact, it is a rude awakening especially if you have always been sheltered.
I and many others have been where you are now. The sudden shock of adulthood is daunting and yet comical. Okay, it’s not comical but you have to develop a dark sense of humour. You’ll need it.
You’re probably thinking that a warning would have been kind. But I have come to realise that the transition into adulthood cannot be explained, it can only be experienced.
Still, I am your big sister and I am going to try my best to explain a few things, to make an attempt at preventing you from feeling overwhelmed.
The first thing you need to know is that you are now both the wounded soldier and the Calvary.You used to run to someone. You made phone calls for problems large and small. But now you must ask yourself, “What am I going to do?”
I’m not saying that you should feel too old to ask for help but it’s important to learn to stand on your own. You’ll be amazed at your level of ingenuityin moments of desperation. Embrace this change because you are nowyour own person. Your plans.Your future.Your success.Your failures.Your choices.They are on you.
This means that when you fail, and you will fail countless times, you will bear the full impact and burden of your failure. It’s not a bad thing. Failing strips you of pride and reminds you that you are not invincible. It makes you humble and considerate and reflective. And that’s a good thing.
I understand that you are now under pressure to make something of yourself. We all are. An important phrase to remember during this period of time is: “Do not conform.” Do not conform to societal deadlines and pressures. Do not conform to generic advice from people who think that they have arrived. Do not conform or you’ll never really know your true potential.
But not conforming does not mean that you live in eternal defiance to people, treating them as the enemy.People matter. You will always need them. Nonetheless, you must disassociate yourself from those who hold you back because you really are the company that you keep. And the world is a lot less forgiving of bad choices when you’re older.
Dear Benjie, I could tell you that eventually everything will fall into place but I pride myself on my honesty. And the truth of the matter is that the world will throw rocksof varying sizes at you. People will disappoint you. You will disappoint yourself.
I could tell you to seek happiness in the storms of life but happiness is temporary. Illusionary even.So seek peace instead, and find it in knowing that you are human and that your level of control goes only as far as putting your best foot forward.
Welcome to adulthood. Welcome to life.