To the 16-year-old me...
Life will not get any easier. Each phase presents a different set of challenges and responsibilities that you will need to take charge of. In fact, there will hardly be “off-days” where you have absolutely nothing to do. Therefore, I will strongly urge you now to start spending more time growing and deepening your relationships with your loved ones.
Eventually, you will realise that simply keeping up with the “academic race” and living up to societal expectations will never fulfill the need for belonging in this world. Rather, it enslaves you to a lifetime of inner disgruntlement that stems from succumbing to a pace that is not yours to run at. What value do accomplishments and accreditations bring if it comes at the expense of the genuine connections you have with fellow humans? No man is an island or meant to live in isolation from others; we have been created to communicate, connect, and co-exist with one another, in a community.
The world might put achievement on a pedestal, but don’t our souls yearn for something more than those? Truthfully, these things will be forgotten after a while but our memories with our loved ones will remain forever etched in our minds.
To that person that really wants to talk, you are going to regret not giving her your time and listening ear. So really, stop and drop everything you think is important (which you will find is not and can wait) and listen to her. It is not about sacrificing time from doing what is urgent. If things were really that urgent, watch less TV or spend less time being on your phone then. But give her that two hours because you will never get to have it back. Quit brushing your parents off by saying you are busy. They have so much to share and all they want is to be a part of their one and only daughter’s life! A lot will change in the next few years and not all will be pleasant. The time you wish you can have with them will not come easy because of how busy hectic things can get. Trust me on this. You may not feel like talking or listening to them now but in the future, you will.
I am still learning and growing. Despite the mounting demands of school and work, I have finally realised what matters most. Relationships are what make us human amidst the world’s constant efforts to mechanise and harden us. Next time you think of turning someone who wants to chat or spend time with you away, consider how a second chance might not even come by again.
Putting down your work might be difficult at that moment, but when you do, you might just touch the person in a way you would have never imagined. Like a mirror, our hearts are reflected through our relationships with one another.
Keep loving, sharpening, and spurring others on as you journey through life together with them!
Your future self.