Being an ardent fan of the hottest new wave of musicians under the brand name Bantu Vibes, I derive inspiration to write this article from one of their songs ; People by Denesi ft Lamu, Chenkobe. I picked up what they call a “hard line” from that song and it goes , “the teacher told the student, who are you and killed the dream”.
I am sure many of us have bumped into annoying questions from elders in regards to who we want to be in future, expecting answers that have a lot to do with proffesion. And so growing up, most of us wanted to be lawyers, doctors, pilots….when I learnt fancy English, I wanted to be a neuro surgeon-it sounded so cool! Years later, I am in business school!
Judging from the status quo, professions with heavy titles are the in thing. I for one have always thought it very prestigious to be a lawyer; my mom thinks I’ll get married to one.
Professions with heavy titles come along with various pluses, they earn you a seat at the corporate table, they earn you a fat bank account and a front seat in church especially when it’s fundraising service/mass. If you’re in luck, they earn you a lifetime partner; basically these kinds of professions should guarantee you success.
And so when your parents haul you off to school with the most cliché advice (study and get a good job), this is what they want you to be. For them, that’s how to be successful.
But what if the script changed? What if we didn’t have to be white collared professionals to exist among others?
Here’s a short story. Back in my village we get together for Christmas, my fellow Kampala cousins come along too. So the cousins who stay with Jaja are excited and always regard us with so much importance-this has never sat well with me. This particular boxing day evening, we happened to be at the farm digging into roasted pork and basically enjoying the wealth my tribe relates to-cattle.one of my Mr. know it all uncles (we all have those irritating uncles that feel the need to show off their not so much knowledge) decided to ask each one of us what we wanted to be when we grew up. The famous answers echoed left right and center until one answer that sent the choir into laughter.
One of my cousins who stay with Jaja said he wanted to be a ‘tipa’ driver .A tipa is a form of truck that usually ferries sand, stones, bricks or helps people carry things when they are shifting to another house. We all laughed at him and most attributed the young lads answer to his prolonged stay in the village.
Left alone, I asked him about his answer. He said,”I want to be a ‘tipa’ driver just like my father. My father is a strong man and I want to be like him, he also helps people take their cows to the market for sale.(told you its cows in my village, they could pass for currency). I want to help many people who can’t walk and drive them in my ‘tipa’ when I grow up.” I didn’t need to ask this boy further.
Most of all, I prayed to God he wouldn’t end up in some westernized school that would teach him to have white heroes and role models .His dad was just what he needed to be who he wanted to be. For this young boy, it wasn’t unrealistic titles he wanted; it was virtuous that he wanted to become because he had seen it looked good on his father!
And so I ask you, who is reading my mambo jumbo, to be or not to be? What is fuelling the fire inside of you? Is it some random school motto or is it the insatiable need to fatten your bank account? Better yet is it the need to walk into a room and have heads even more wise than you bow before you? Or is it the famous choruses like ‘You Only Live Once’? Would you be what your parents have paid schools to make you? Or shall you design your own blueprint? Shall you attach titles to yourself?
If you ask me, I’ll dare you to wear virtues on the sleeves of your fancy coat. I hope we become the generation that retains the power to make decisions for ourselves. Fuck the dollar rate; go do a job you would still do if you weren’t paid to do it.
Don’t answer peoples questions regarding who you want to be 5 years from now if you don’t know the answer as of yet. You’re not pyschic! Tell them you live for today, tomorrow will take care of itself. Ask them if they like who you are today? Better yet, ask them if they like who they have become. Shake that table for them!
A budding writer recently wrote encouraging us to stop procrastinating, telling us to live for now. Our caterer back in high school wore a shirt with the words “the time is now”. Each day the sun graces the earth is another opportunity to be the best of you. I would say find someone and strive to be like them but even twins don’t have the same abilities. Whatever you do, don’t let them define you for I believe that definition is such a limitation!
To be or not to be cuts across many spheres of life. you could be fat, skinny,rude,polite,neat,reckless,loving,rich,poor,blessed,beautiful,talented,funny,proud,atheist,God-fearing,happy,grateful,sad…..
You could be all those things if you choose to, so make sure what you become is what you chose to be!