Dreams…

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” – Paulo Coelho 

Everyone has a dream

There’s that point in your life where you see something and say to yourself “I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life”. That very moment is when you discover your passion, your purpose in life. Dare I say, your destiny.

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Paulo Coelho writes, in the alchemist, that “Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives everything is clear and everything is possible. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realise their destiny.” I like to think of that mysterious force as life. Certain circumstances make us forget or push us away from achieving our dreams. In most cases, we are so worried about what other people think that we fail to pursue our dreams out of fear of being ridiculed. Or we’re just scared to fail so we don’t even try. Whatever the reason may be, fear is usually at the base of it.

After reading The Alchemist, I went around asking friends and family members what they wanted to be when they were younger and if that was still the case now or if not, what had changed. Most people that stuck with their childhood dreams seemed convinced that they couldn’t see themselves doing anything else.  Others who changed career paths gave reasons like “it was impractical” or “I was never pushed in that direction” or “life got in the way”. A few of them went on to say “I wish I actually pursued that”.

I’m going to tell you guys my story, let you into my world. Into the Ill Mind of Zilla (word to Hopsin)

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As an African child, there is a certain career path that you’re expected to follow. From the moment you are born, your parents are boasting to their brothers and sisters, their friends, the driver, the gateman, the hawker and just about anyone who will listen that “my son will be a doctor”, “my daughter will be a lawyer”. From a young age, you are indoctrinated to push towards the career path that has been chosen for you.

Growing up, most of us follow these paths that our parents have carefully laid out for us. As a child, I loved music, still do, but these talents of mine were never cultivated because my parents had it in mind that I was going to study something scientific or that I’d become a lawyer as I loved to talk. This is not to fault my parents, they obviously meant well. Meanwhile my older brother was a boy genius who took his GSCE Maths exam in Year 9 and received an A*. Imagine living in the shadow of a brother like that, the pressure was always there to be better. I remember starting secondary school at the tender age of 11 and my dad pulling me aside to tell me that I should aspire to take my GCSE maths exam in year 8 (LOL!). Eventually, I grew tired of being told what to do and who I should be so I decided that I was going to do my own thing. But the problem was I didn’t know exactly what “my own thing” was. 

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I began college with Biology, Mathematics, Philosophy & Ethics and Music. Biology and Mathematics was chosen to keep my parents happy, Philosophy& Ethics because I was genuinely interested and Music because I just love music. I started college with the intention of studying human biology at university but after a DMC (deep meaningful conversation) with a dear friend (thank you, Myles), I realised that wasn’t where my passion lies. I decided there and then that I wasn’t going to apply to university that year. Instead, I was going to change my subjects in second year and stay an extra year in college. Imagine the reaction of my Nigerian parents when I told them what I planned to do. I heard things like “your mates are applying to university this year and you want to still be in college?” “We didn’t bring you to this country to be wasting your life” “but you are good at Maths and Science, why not pursue it?” One thing about African parents (of course, not all) is that they tend not to understand passions. It’s all about academics. Imagine the constant shade I received. My mum was even convinced at some point that I was bewitched.

Anyway, I discovered ANTHROPOLOGY!!! I had always been interested in humans in general: how we function, why we function the way we do, our thought processes, cultures, religions, backgrounds, etc. So when I discovered that anthropology literally meant “the study of man”, you can imagine the excitement I felt in my soul. I’m now currently in my second year of university studying anthropology and I honestly could not be happier (minus the depression, anxiety and debt that comes with university, that it). I feel like I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

At first, my parents were sceptical but when I made it clear that I was going to do it, with or without their support, they had no choice but to comply. And that’s another thing I noticed about parents, well mine. They only want what’s best for you so the minute you show them how serious you are about pursuing your passion and they see you’re genuinely happy, they do everything in their power to support you. After all, they didn’t bring you into this world to watch you fail (shout out to my mum and dad).

I know too many adults who lead unhappy lives because they failed to chase their own dreams.

We all have dreams, why not pursue yours? It’s never too late to try.

To the lawyer who spent most of her years in education convinced that medicine was where her destiny lied only to realise that she was on the wrong path. All those failures you encountered, the shutdowns and tears were God’s way of telling you that the dream you were pursuing wasn’t what was written for you. When you realise your true destiny, everything just seems to fall into place. I’m sure you know that now. I’m proud of you, keep doing what you’re doing  – A

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