Life is full of opportunities! Some are within your reach and some aren’t. Let me tell you about my experience with them.
Hackathons & Competitions
I love attending hackathons because you get to meet interesting people, you get good food and you get a pretty good idea about which ideas companies are willing to steal from you. If your idea doesn’t get stolen somehow then its either its so good that they didn’t understand it or its ….bad. Look for another one. I remember going to a few hackathons and not managing to win anything. It sucked. I remember applying for competitions – I actually have a folder with all the competitions I applied for (the figure is around 30 now). For some of them, I was so confident that I started to plan what I would do with the money. I would create a comprehensive budget and everything would be set. Everything except the money. I never managed to win any competition that I expected I would win and won many a competition I didn’t think I had a real chance of winning. That is what taught me this valuable piece of wisdom: If the money isn’t in your hands then its not yours. It doesn’t matter how it is “clear” that you will win the competition. And even if you do win the competition, if its not in your hands then its not yours. Some people actually do win and never get their money. That really sucks.
I grew to love the cartoon Scooby Doo. I belive that the premise of the cartoon is nothing but genius. What the person who created the cartoon tries to bring out is that monsters do not exist. Humans, through selfishness, greed and other terrible self-centred desires do very bad things – very much like what a “monster” would do. I learnt that we live in an “Each man for himself, God for us all” type of world. I am someone who is strongly influenced by Mercedes Benz’s motto – “The Best – Or nothing.” As a result, I did have many friendships that I made and strongly believed in them. I quickly realized that what I called a friendship was actually a “relationship of convenience.” By this I do not mean a romantic Yaaay-we-are-kissing relationship but a normal hey-we-are-friends type of relationship that exists between any two individuals regardless of their gender. People use you for different things depending on your age. Let’s have a little breakdown:
- being associated with you because you are cool or funny
- getting access to your toys and videogames
- getting free homework to copy, and getting access to your videogames
- free assignments to copy, free airtime (I remember a guy who used to buy $5 worth of airtime for this particular person), free texts and free exam papers
- Free assignments to copy, money money money mooonnneeeyyyy mooooooonnnneeeeeyyyyyyy, social status, free favours and to have someone to act as a painkiller/i-only-need-you-when-im-not-feeling-good (this applies to cross gender friendships and also many girl to girl friendships)
I’m not a super adult yet so I cant tell yet.
Age is not directly proportional to maturity
People say age is just a number. That is really true. You see, back then I thought that adults are super mature people who think logically and represent the ultimate state. Boy, was I wrong! Adults are just kids that have lower frequency voices and bodies that are usually out of shape. That’s it. A ten year old thinks just as rationally as a 30 year old if given all of the correct facts. In most cases, kids are actually able to make better decisions because they haven’t been brainwashed by mass memorization industries (schools all over the world) and they haven’t been turned into cold hearted beasts by life.
Romeo and Juliet died
This may sound really grim and many may wonder why I chose such a terrible example. Here’s what I mean. Growing up, many ideas are sold to us about the concepts of relationships. Girls look for prince charming and guys look for ...princess charming? Romeo and Juliet are perfect examples of a perfect relationship and since it does not exist, they died. Society does not preach about how we are selfish and have inner desires that cause relationships to die such as: insecurity (that’s a big one ...and many people are too scared to admit to this one), selfishness, fear, and pride. Instead, the society promotes buying books with “secrets” to do all sorts of crazy things or they promote Ingamabungra powder with Wongotoshi Spider Sauce and all sorts of voodoo sounding potions to “rekindle your dead relationship.” Nobody talks about the stuff that really matters: open communication, taking a giant leap of faith and trusting your partner (sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. That’s why its a leap of faith), respect (calling your partner a dog, a useless person or using any derogatory comment is not respect..and those nasty jokes really sting.), and praying to God because anything can happen. There are really messed up people out there and only God can protect you from them.
This is my favourite song from Skillet’s Album, Comatose. Just in case you didn’t know, I’m a metal head and love that music that’s used in horror music a.k.a. Hard Rock. In Skillet’s song, Looking for Angels they say “Angels are found in the strangest of places.” This is very true. Very many times we are helped out by total strangers. The world isn’t all evil. Such angels are very hard to find, but they do exist. I have met many of them. Most of them were drunkards and weed heads but they were really great people. I actually people who were a drunkards who I knew and everyone said they were really terrible people. I naturally kept my distance from them. As fate would have it, we got into a position in which we met everyday. I got to know them. They were very much unlike what people said. This leads me to the last point.
Labels are a myth
I come from a family that is rather open minded. As a result, I don’t have very strong biases that most people have towards a lot of people e.g. drunkards, etc. As a natural human being, I do have biases, but they are not as strong as those that a typical rigid minded person would have. I learnt that different people have different life experiences and these make them behave in different manners. Some people have tattoos, some are drunkards, some are atheists, some steal, and the list goes on. Should you hang around such people? That is a hard question to answer, but what I do know is that you must not judge them in a condescending manner. Find out about them. Maybe the drunkard has serious mental health issues. Maybe the atheists had a loved one die after praying for weeks and maybe the thief grew up in conditions that are so harsh that would take great strength for anyone to go through. This leads me to the very last point. This is the last one for real.
Health is comprised of three main pillars – your mental state, your physical state and your emotional stage. Your mental state is the most important. Mental health is a really undervalued, rarely talked about issue here in Africa. It’s terrible. I do not think there are many people who talk about mental health. Different people have different demons that they face each day. They need some type of way to relieve their stress. Most use alcohol not because they are reckless and want to waste their family’s money but because they don’t know what to do. And what do humans do when they don’t know what to do? They just do what everyone else does. I learnt to be kind to strangers and even the people I know because you never know what the next person is going through. The death of Chadwick Boseman is a perfect example. People were shocked to hear that he had stage 4 cancer. Now imagine what went through his head. What thoughts did he have? If you were in his position what thoughts would you think of?
Growing up is like having the lights turned off and being asked to start drawing. It is full of mystery and most situations you will encounter are things you never imagined were possible. There are very many lessons you will learn along the way and I brought up a few that I learnt along the way. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you are a kid, get ready to get confused in a couple of years. See you next Wednesday in the next post!