I don’t entertain regrets in my life but I’m occasionally tempted to regret especially when I realize that everything they told us was a lie. The irony of growing up is not something I can overlook. Probably because I have overthinking tendencies. It’s probably sad because I tend to question everything in life but who doesn’t? The difference between us is the extent to which we are willing to go with the questions. That aside, the main issue I want to address is the irony or rather paradox of adulting. Let’s break that down.
Growing up, they told us that education was the key to success. We beat ourselves up reading anything and everything they told us to read. We literally burned the midnight oil to get most if not all the questions right in class. They set exams (some of them were unreasonable) but we conformed to the system anyway. We trusted their word and gave it our best. Some of us scored highly while others didn’t do very well. They used this against us. Our score divided and branded us as either smart or foolish.
The smart ones were praised and assured that life would reward them. They would get the best jobs and live the best lives. On the other hand, the foolish ones would work for the smart ones and live on handouts. We believed that without questioning. Back in high school, one student told the other that he would not amount to anything. This comment was outrightly based on the student’s academic performance. The system had made us believe that overall success and failure were based on one’s academic qualifications.
Close to a decade later, I’m here questioning everything I learned. Everything they told us did not pay off. The irony is in how life turns out and it’s sickening. Academic excellence is not a basis for anything in this world. What you just read might not be quite accurate but I’m sure most people can agree with it. Let’s face it, how many testimonies have we read about graduates holding first-class honors degrees but struggling. Similarly, how many dropouts and people they branded as foolish are running the streets. The irony is in what they said about the smart employing the foolish. The complete opposite is happening.
But probably you’re thinking that is just a first, right? Don’t stop reading yet.
After graduating I was privileged to get a job. I worked for eleven months before the pandemic struck. Through this time, I earned peanuts. Enough for me to keep showing up each day to the office (out of desperation) and enough so that the employer didn’t lose employees. I mean, that’s exactly what happens. We all know this but for some reason, we keep going.
I love reading so I read several books that would help me get out of my comfort zone. They all had one thing in common, “quitting formal employment and being an entrepreneur”. That’s how millionaires do it, or so they assured. I liked that, and I had read enough about how to go about it. Based on what I had learned, I had a plan in place already. The remaining part was quitting my day job and becoming an entrepreneur. I did not have the guts to do it but the pandemic had my six. I soon lost my job and it was time to pursue Technopreneurship.
You see, the books I had read and vlogs I had watched left out very important things. Things that might have prevented me from taking his path especially with a young family looking up to me. The part where you work thrice as much. Also, it does not guarantee payment, especially during the initial months of starting the venture. Formal employment provides security in form of a monthly payslip. They did not mention that entrepreneurs often got for a month without any pay, especially for the first few months. The Irony. But that’s not the worst part.
The worst part was that I was switching from working from 9 am to 5 pm to working day and night. With formal employment, the employer defines reasonable working hours. This is never the case with entrepreneurship especially technopreneurship which involves working over the internet. I worked with clients from all parts of the world. The main challenge with such kind of work is time differences. Working under such kind of pressure almost drove me crazy.
I remember a time I was working with clients from -8 hours times zones for two months and switching to some from +5 hours times zones. I was working thrice as hard enduring unconventional working hours compared to when I was in formal employment. The irony! I occasionally switched my working and sleeping hours which didn’t sit well with my sanity. The authors of the books I read had not mentioned this. As a result, I was not ready. I learned this the hard way. They said open a business so I did.
They said to target a demographic that you know much about so I targeted my agemates’ needs as my main customers. That was a mistake. It did not work out for me and I closed the business a few months after opening because I paid rent and never made any sales. They never said that it wouldn’t work. They assured us that it needed patience and would soon pay off. The irony! Like a diamond that is forged through the hottest fire and under great pressure, I turned out better than okay.
That’s a second paradox, right? They say that we should rely on a single event. We might interpret two similar events as a coincidence. However, a third event confirms a pattern and a consequent, a justifiable reason to raise questions. Read on.
My age group is mature and ready to have families. They told us to do everything by the book where relationships are concerned, right? Take her to several dates before you introduce her to your parents. Know her well enough before proposing. Visit her neighborhood in the evening and walk near her home. Listen to how her mother addresses her father since chances are that she will address you the same way her mother addresses her father. That’s creepy and might land you in trouble. Learn about her tribespeople because they will be your tribespeople and their ways carried down your future generations. They said that we should do that and we did it all.
“After marriage, be an honorable man or woman,” they added. Treat your woman like a queen and your children equally as princes and princesses. We did all this but it wasn’t enough. How many times have we seen women being treated like queens by their husbands but doing the unthinkable? Similarly, how many cases of kings have we seen doing the unthinkable despite being treated like royalty by their queens. It’s even sadder when children engage in physical, emotional, and substance abuse despite being given the best upbringings.
On the contrary people with no honor are doing just fine. Cheating and violent husbands or wives survive through life despite their misgivings. Some even thrive through these hardships. The irony!
That’s a third paradox that makes it a pattern. A pattern that they assured us things without accurate information. Things that do not always work.
Don’t get me started on what they told us about time. That time heals all wounds. But now I know that some wounds are too deep to be healed. Others have fatal infections that cannot be healed over time. Others leave us with amputations that damage us permanently. How many times have bad breakups damaged people’s perception of relationships leaving them incapable of any emotion? As I said, don’t get me started on that.
Bottom line, it’s time we stop assuring each other of things we cannot promise. Let’s accept the paradox of life. The irony of life. Let’s tell our kids that education is key instead let’s let them know that it’s not guaranteed. Let’s not brand people who score bad grades as foolish and lower their self-esteem during their growing years. Humans learn before they reach twenty years. If we brand them as foolish they are likely not to learn especially if they believe that they are foolish.
Let’s not assure employees that quitting formal employment is the way to become successful. Instead, let’s tell them that sometimes it won’t work out even after investing so much money and time into our ventures. At least, we will prepare them for failure in case it doesn’t work out. They will have several plans in case the primary plan fails.
Let’s not assure our young adults that behaving in a certain manner will make sure their romantic relationships work. Let’s make it clear that people we knew occasionally change. That they can switch from dependable people to strangers overnight. Deep feelings fade and it’s normal and humane. Let’s tell our young couples that it’s okay to be in a relationship for as long as it works contrary to until death do us part. Otherwise, we will have so many premature and premeditated deaths. At least they will be ready in case it doesn’t work out.Let's tell our young couples that it's okay to be in a relationship for as long as it works contrary to until death do us part. Click To Tweet
Acknowledging the irony of life allows us to be flexible and expect different outcomes despite doing everything right. They help us understand that the most important part of a plan is planning or rather counting on a scenario where the plan fails. Otherwise, we will continue raising a frustrated generation characterized by suicides, mass murderers, and psychopaths because they lived according to the manual and it didn’t turn out as we assured them it would.They help us understand that the most important part of a plan is planning or rather counting on a scenario where the plan fails. Click To Tweet
I hope that was an eye-opening post. Also, note that it is based on my opinions and perception of life. Do you share my views? Please let me know in the comment section. And kindly share it with a friend, it will not only make my day, but it will also mean the world to me. Until next time, Adios.