At 27, I’ve been confronted with the harsh reality that my life seems to be going nowhere slowly. I have three degrees in journalism, two in teaching and yet… This country is not about qualifications or even experience, anymore, it’s about who you know.
Despite being the eternal optimist, the truth hit me as I looked at old photographs. I was protected then from the harshness you, my dear adulthood, brought to my parents and which now I stand in the shadow of. My flame of self-belief is merely flickering. While childhood is the maker of one’s soul, adulthood seems to be the maintainer of it. And what if I don’t even know how to maintain my own expenses? My own life? I want to be the keeper of my own fortune, not constantly thinking: “I owe Mom and Dad this and that.”
Born like many South African children to divorced parents, I was raised by an incredibly spirited single-mom who spoonfed me all my life. We never talk about loans, leases or wills. It’s as if we only live for today. But, somehow, looking at her and my father age… I realize time is running out. If they die tomorrow (God forbid), I’ll have absolutely nothing but the pieces of paper hanging on my wall. Those beautiful words “Cum Laude” I once treasured, would mean nothing…
I was lucky enough to get certificates at school “Most diligent,” “Most likely to succeed,” colours for academics and service. All I want now, is someone out there to serve me with some knowledge… How do I stop fearing tomorrow? How do I not break after every empty response for a job or broken dream?
My soul hungers for the ability to fly alone. For two years, I lived alone, explored various parts of the world, yet returned without a cent to my name. Why? No one taught me how to manage money wisely.
Yes, I was privileged enough to get bursaries in academics, and thought I would be lucky enough life-wise. So wrong. I have no idea on what to look for when purchasing a car, a home or raising my children one day. As someone close pointed out: “There is a strong difference between being academic and life-savvy. It’s better to have the latter.” Indeed.
To my unborn children, I can only hope this world is gentler with you. That I will help you get your driver’s licence ASAP (not pay an instructor because I’m too busy or not patient enough), that you will work hard to pay your own tertiary education (not carry on studying, expecting it will all work out somehow) and that you will be well equipped in life. I will not shut your fear up with money. I will erase it with well-deserved advice. I will help you: patience without obligation. Knowledge without fear. Success despite defeat. These seeds of regret and of pain will flourish into beautiful fields of success. You will make it. I’ll never give up on you.
The only words I never heard from own elders: “Never give up on yourself… For you are what you make yourself to be.” Despite the abuse, the chagrin, the broken home, you’ve overcome in order to prosper fully. For I have somehow prospered in life. I’ve been broken down many times in order for you to read this. Escape in your childhood if you can… Ride a swing, a horse, anything that sets your soul aflight. Don’t be afraid of getting laughed at. Better to try and fail than never try at all. There is only this life. Now, time for me to send more CVs… Say a prayer an angel is reading this.
- VS, daughter, dreamer, reflector of the universe