Being Young · On Writing

Dreaming of Greatness


Not all of us are destined for greatness.

This is a truth I have come to realise as part of becoming an adult. When I was much younger, I thought that adulthood would bring with it some certainties. Adults, I thought, automatically knew how to handle situations of all kinds. They knew just what to say, there wasn’t any awkwardness anywhere, matters dealt with expertise and ease. When I would enter the world of the adults I expected that there wouldn’t be fights erupting out of silly reasons such as that one word one said against the other in the heat of the moment. People would know how to act good and honourably with each other. They would make decisions that seldom went wrong, because they were adults and they had done this many times before.

What I am now increasingly realising is that adults are as juvenile as children. Or, the concept of growing up, maturing, doesn’t really mean anything before the very last stage of life. People before that stage are just taller versions of themselves as children.

How many of us grow up with the hope of becoming something great in life. Is that another one of our delusions as children? College students who were student leaders and did well everywhere end up working for corporate companies. Big companies, may be, but still, working for someone else. Doing a normal day job that does little else than make money. Did they expect something great out of themselves?

What is “great”, really?


Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

There is a fear of fading away in life. Not having done anything, having achieved nothing. Dreams dreamt too big, not sustained by the little talent one is in possession of. Life, spent uninspired and being uninspirational. Fading away, away, and then one wonders, what did one ever do in the world?

Success is a quite different story, beginning with a moment appearing out of nowhere and transforming life forever. What is crucial is I think, doing. Doing, moving, thinking. And then, after that, keeping doing, moving, thinking. The crucial thing in life is doing.

Doing what? Whatever it is in the world we’re capable of and that which gives us joy. That which, for no matter how minuscule the scale, is purposeful, tipping even a molecule of oil in the engine of life that helps make it run better, smoother.


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