…between reality and fantasy.
It is a harsh truth we must learn to face. Who has not lived a life where, in our youth, we had high hopes and an innocent confidence of what was yet to come? Then, as time passed, those hopes slowly diminished and at the other end of the time spectrum, we look retrospectively at life and realise that many of those ambitions never came to fruition.
So, who is to blame?
Frankly, I believe no single person can be held responsible for those missed opportunities. Life is complicated and often the trajectory we map out for ourselves is met with unforeseen circumstances which put a dent in our plans. The thing that I have learnt in recent years is that it is up to me to close the gap between the ambitions I desire to fulfil and the actual job of fulfilling them. Reliance on someone else is a dangerous dependency which I have cured myself of.
I would argue that having seen life from both sides of marriage, the gap between reality and fantasy is even more possible to close. That’s because I am in charge of my own affairs now and do not need to consider someone else’s views. That may sound pretty selfish. However, I beg to differ. It is precisely because I put a great part of my own life on hold to facilitate others’ progress, be it my children in their academic lives or my ex-spouse in his career goals, I feel I have earned the right to focus on me. Now, I come first. If I’m not going to take this stance at this stage of my life, then it’s never going to happen.
I would advise anyone anywhere never to rely on someone else to make your life happen. It is entirely within your grasp. If a goal can’t be achieved now for whatever reason, never give up on it altogether. For women especially, they must carve out a niche in life for themselves which nobody can enter. It is a zone which allows them to be as creative or as relaxed as they wish but it must be a place for their wellbeing. It has to be a place where they call the shots because goodness knows they don’t get to do enough of that in so many other realms of their lives.
An example of what I mean is this blog of mine itself. It is my own space where I am liberated from the drudgery of life’s routines and can almost have a conversation with an invisible audience. The bonus is that nobody can interrupt my train of thoughts. Another goal I have is to sit solo on a cliff top lost in reverie – a nelipot overlooking the azure sea and sky on a sunny afternoon! Neither of these are examples of unattainable goals but to have them and make them happen is so important. It is a satisfying sense of independent accomplishment set and achieved by myself.
There are some gaps in life which may never be closed but I could do worse than not to aim to at least make them narrower. I refuse to be held back or feel disadvantaged because I do not have a man by my side. This will not be my handicap. It will be my liberation. I don’t deny that good company would have been a wonderful bonus. However, I totally believe I am a work of Kintsugi as I mentioned so many blog posts ago. I have not given up on myself. I have not given up on life. InshaAllah, I will do my best to keep moving forward as long as Allah Himself allows. The only gap that I need to keep in mind is the one where I am forging ahead and others cannot keep up.