As I journey through life, one of my never ending fixations, has been on the concept of Time and our Competitive Programming.
First you are born, then you grow up, add a few more years till the magical age and then the music stops. The cycle of life is as intriguing as it is scary for some. So I assume, we created clock time to fill in the gaps between life and death.
After birth, we move from parental nurturing, to formal schooling, get the hard earned jobs or create one, marriage, have children, grow old, all on a tight schedule.
We seem to have this manual handed down from the cosmos, that is attached to us at birth. This imaginary list of ‘to dos’, guide our realities from one moment to the next. We are raised to benchmark our achievements against, those of our competitors otherwise called peers. We are all sprinting towards the finish line, save for death because no one truly wants to die first.
We want to be the first to land that multinational job, marry that beautiful girl or boy, get pregnant, build the dream house or travel abroad. Everything is within the spectrum of our competitive programming at the expense of our sacred individuality. Some have high blood pressure from all that infighting that comes from fierce competition and time constraints. Since, we are all determined to make it before the magical age 40, our minds know no rest until we have explored all possibilities for success.
And so it begins…
The scramble for success of the “I better pass my neighbour” extraction. Our friendships become war zones because we have made them so. The first to get one million Naira is happy until their best friend makes ten million. The taste of a million, is replaced with inner turmoil and a new focus to achieve more.
The success rhetoric and time constraints sends us scrambling for more. After all, we don’t have time. “A fool at forty is a fool forever”, they say. We believe them, so we run in the direction of the wind, until time truly runs out. We leave this physical plane filled with regrets of a life not lived.
Recently, a friend told me of someone who had so much money in the 90s and everyone wanted to be just like him. Fast forward 2017 and all that money is gone. In his words, “I am back where I was in 1989, broke and desperate, like nothing changed”. All that speed, washed away in the sands of time. I do not, underestimate this person’s ability to recover all he lost and more, however, my focus is on all those people who inflicted pain on themselves in 1995 at the peak of his wealth, when they assumed they had failed.
Let’s take this mad rush to get married for example. How many of us know people who married and have excused themselves from those unions or are miserable? As at the time they were tying the knot, many were depressed, thinking they had failed. Again, I have no need to rejoice over anyone’s private pain, still, it must be used for illustrative purposes.
Remember, the first people to travel to America or Europe? How we hid it so no one knew, because it was such a big deal? Well, the embassies still issue visas to new entrants every single day. People from our past are going to these exclusive places like we have. Nothing missed, in the passage of time, other than the illusion of it running out.
Most of us in our 30s may have realised by now that life is not as certain as we were made to believe. Some of our timelines on marriage, money, jobs, children have not worked out so well, yet we are in a better place, if we choose to trust our process.
There is no such thing like a fool at 40 is a fool forever in my book of life. There are so many people getting married after 40, giving birth, starting new careers, expanding frontiers until they leave this physical plane. I know all that talk about biological clocks and all what not. Maybe it’s time to ask Janet Jackson how she did it or Sarah in your Bible.
Do we have to manage clock time? Yes because we created it like money for this reality. However, we can always rise above by staying connected with our inner selves. Some of us knew within us that 21 was a terrible age to attempt marriage and stuck to our guts. Others took the plunge and are the happier for it. Some of us, have no desire for marriage and children and this is worth honouring, regardless of what the mob thinks. When we go inwards, we are able to live our life like the Frank Sinatra song.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to say in the end “Much more than this, I did it my way?”
Whatever you choose to believe, about time or illusions, choose that which adds richness to your life. May our collective lights be the force that drives out darkness.