I am sad, but I am happy —Year-Long Musings

I am sad, but I’m happy IMG_2412
I am lost, but I’m found
I am soft, but I’m a hard shell
I stumble, but I don’t fall
This is my Year-Long Musings!

Another year, another 365 days going down. Plenty of soul-searching, reviews, pondering, and hope. What else would I have, if I did not have home?

I am feeling a little funky lately.
I have not been driving for a while. But I am back to driving.
I have also not drove the Mercedes August. But now it is back, and all mine. Well, hopefully!
The first day I got back to driving it last week, it brought me a little sadness. To the pile of sadness I have.

The Mercedes represents grandpa. It reminds me of grandpa. It replays the entire memory of the life I knew of him, especially this year.
It reminds me of witnessing the pain and agony of his life, straight up, in the same house.
I had never been in the same space, up-close, with a person so sick.
Yet feeling inadequate to help. Often feeling, it is not your place to show great care and concern.
Not sure whether I would be construed as “overstepping the boundaries” or “crossing the line.”

But I wonder, how could somebody ail so much! Yet not get well to enjoy life after that gruesome pain?
How could one go down too fast? It seemed it all came and went down too fast!
How could one hurt so much, yet remain strong for others, for those he loved?
He surely kept on taking care of those he loved — his wife, his children, his in-laws and his grandchildren.

I particularly recall him seated in the living room, groaning with so much pain in the abdomen. Especially, whenever he tried to get up.
He loved driving, to the mosque, to the store, to take school kids to school, to take his wife to work in the morning or to take his family on long trips.
But getting up to go drive, was the climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Throughout the ailment, he drove on other family trips: to Detroit and back to PA, down to Atlanta and back, to Toronto and back.
I recall so vividly his last long drive, a 500 miles roundtrip PA-MD-PA, while trying to contain excruciating pain.
He avoided eating, and barely drank, the entire trip. He did not want to have to get up and go to bathroom; it was too much hardship.
Yet, he stayed steady on the wheel, without a single incident. He did not knock off the steering wheel, and only took very brief rest stops

So, with such display of stamina and resilience, how could he not live through his ailment to full recovery? I still wonder!
Because, his strength did not burn out.
He often woke up in the wee hours of the morning, drove wifey to the NYC bus terminal in our PA-hood.
He drove two girls from their Muslim community to and from their school bus.
Because their mother, worked early and long hours, and left and returned home before and after school bus hours.
I watched how he splashed his grandkids and children in-law, with love and adoration.
But he is gone. It is three months later!

But that is not the central feature of my sadness. Though, it struck me as well.
I am sad, as the year draws to a close. Reflecting on what has transpired.
How much gained, how much lost. Of course, plenty gained —especially in the weight department!
I see me in my “new mother suit” again. And that makes me sad, and induce me to create more sadness.
It has to go, I cannot keep it around in 2016.
Can’t support it no more! Big is not always desirable.
But I will take big pockets, and big bank accounts!

Big, I will embrace, to rise again. Big dreams, to become big reality.
Big smile, big achievements. Big social networks. Big alliances
Yeah, I will even take a bigger contribution to the carbon footprint, then settle back into my “tree-hugger-ness”
I want to fly by, be big, celebrate big and sleep big.

I’ll take all that will keep me happy, I need big happiness of mind, body and soul.
I need the positive energies that come along with big feelings and big achievements.
I need my big confidence to rise and shine through again.

I miss my big old-self!
Santa baby, I want my big happy self back
I want a sing a new song
That, I am happy more than sad
I am not sad, but I am happy!

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Motherhood: This Holy Sweet Grail…

Oh! Motherhood!Mommy and cub

A Happy Belated Mother’s Day 2015, everyone!

At least if you claim to be a mother. And to all the baby mommas, momma-daddies, daddy-mommas, grandmas, surrogates, birth mommas, godmothers, and everyone else who shares motherhood! Proud of you!

I had a superfood Mother’s Day!

Child and I started out with a light breakfast. Too light, I cannot exactly remember what we had. I know there was a cereal, somewhere. For breakfast, I probably served eggs and waffle,  maybe? I had tea, most definitely, as a routine!

Yes my friends, I was asked to produce breakfast on Mother’s Day, by ‘the powers that be’!

“Mommy, I have been waiting for breakfast a longtime!”

Excuse Child of Mine (CoM) for not getting the memo, that mothers are “Off Duty” on Mother’s Day. I let him know my expectations for next year; who will assume the traditional role of preparing breakfast for the other on the same. After all, CoM will be a year older and wiser? Uhm, so the world thinks 😉

After breakfast, made and served by my skillful hands, we hangout for a while. Then headed out for our “special Family Day-out”, of playing with pottery and painting at Poke-A-Nose. It was a reserved splash, “Mommy & Me pottery” with Teas and Pastries. But don’t believe the hype about the “Teas & Pastries”! The ‘Colony’ was not left with any “High Tea” or “royal pastries”! So, they ‘faked’ up own version of “Ice Tea and cookies”. Who serves ice tea for pretty occasions, I wondered!

Still, mission accomplished! Then on to lunch at our fav place, of legged, shelled and crabbed things, slithered down the throat with apples and vanilla cream. Memories are what they are made of! I must say, though, that plate was not worth the $$ drained out of my kitty😭😭. Thankfully, CoM’s $5 win from the Earth Day Kids Dash, chipped in for the dessert, and wiped away a few 😭😭! 😀

Still, something about celebrating that golden day -Mother’s Day, sores my heart, each time. On Mother’s Day, I felt as joyous, as I felt sadness. I love the works of my brain and hand, particularly CoM. Yet, I felt a moment of sorrow and loneliness.

Perhaps it is having to repeatedly do things, all by myself and for myself? Perhaps having to be the Center of Attention for CoM? Perhaps it’s the exhaustion from thinking about the responsibilities of parenting? Wondering if you are making the right decisions, right choices, or providing the right guidance? Afraid of whatever details you might be leaving out, for his proper growth? Guilty of not being able to provide as well as you should? Guilty of your life circumstances? Half-full glass?

But then, when he just kisses and hugs me, and says, “I Love You Mommy. You’re the best mommy in the entire galaxy.” I can’t help, but feel overwhelmed with joy, holding back my tears, for that feeling of a job well done!

The start of the week post-Mother’s Day, life was not going trés good, and the week did not start well either. Painful reality of uncertainty about the immediate and future life, physical, emotional and mental displacement, and insecurities, all pilled on me as the day wound down. Not knowing what tomorrow is gonna bring, and how big, good and fast, tomorrow will bring our way.

Thinking about the life we never had. The life we had, the life we have now, and the life we wish to have, becomes overwhelming for me. More so, as a mother raising a child on her own, and striving for the best for her child. Moments can steal all the passion, commitment, courage and determination to succeed, to do the best, and stay on task.

There are trying moments, gut-wrenching, with plenty of self doubt. But they also arouse the most self-reflection, and energetic recollection of oneself. A reminder that, I have been there, done that, and came out strong. A reminder that, I can still dust myself up and try again. A reminder that life never completely gives up on anyone.

For now, I am going to keep working on being the best mother. I am gonna work on celebrating each Mother’s Day with Child. Making motherhood one of the best jobs I have done. I want to enjoy every bit of this journey, while hoping the best to come out.

I will remind myself that, life is not always about bliss. There are low moments, followed by tides. There are moments of joy and moments of cold. As the week progressed, I felt much better…not great…but better. Perhaps that is a score in itself. What remains true is the love I have for CoM, and the joy of the Holy Sweet GrailMotherhood!

Perhaps there is Freedom in Suffering?

It is a given that all humans live in pursuit of happiness! We all want to be happy, with ourselves, our loved ones and our families. We want to enjoy life, and always wish the best for ourselves. None of us wishes to be bonded to pain, sadness or misery.
Our pursuit of happiness manifests itself in different forms. Self-help books, filled with “lessons on becoming/staying happy”. Shrinks in form of psychologists, psychiatrists, religious prophetesses and prophets, guidance counselors and friends, all remind us how worthy of happiness we are. Lest we forget the “Happy Singer” Pharrell Williams, whose “happy” has ‘infected’ every corner of the world, including places amidst chaos and war. Fitness and body weight loss programs restore and build our happiness, as are TV, video and radio and plenty of other entertainment disposable to make us happy. Implicitly, Happiness is the ultimate measure of personal freedom; sadness the worst form of human living, which should be avoided at all costs!
Perhaps we are all wrong! That sadness is after all not fatal, not miserable and not undesirable. Perhaps there is freedom in suffering? Freedom to liberate, to take time off the world’s absurdities into oneself. Time to reflect and rejuvenate oneself, time to ponder over one’s failures, disappointments and hurtful moments, then recreate success, satisfaction, love and happiness. Through suffering, we might find the strength to claim our space in an unfamiliar, unjust and uninviting world. We might stop being voiceless by finding our voice, or among others concerned about their plight. We might also find the creativity to rebuild our lives and reclaim economic, political and social security for ourselves and loved ones. We might create our bubble of happiness, false or real, longterm or short-lived.
Here, I am thinking of Gays and Lesbians, very often living as outlaws in many societies, but are able to find avenues for self-expression. Transforming alienation, antagonism and ostracism they face into spaces to display of themselves to the ‘unsuspecting’ public through art, spoken word, activism, performance, dressing and festivities. Through disobedience they are transforming their suffering into freedom from confinement in the ‘underground’/‘unseen’ world into outer space.
Battered and abused spouses, as well, find freedom in suffering, through silence or disobedience against demands of their abusive spouses. For some, sexual intercourse is the channel for release their suffering at the hands of abusive spouses for a ‘momentary’ moment(s) of enjoyment. Sexual intercourse transpositions them into a world away from their sadness, reconnecting with their inner most desires and blissfulness. Others find freedom in infidelity with ‘lovers’, one-off strangers or sex workers. Married men buy prostitutes to satisfy their sexual infatuation. Overtime, some of the transactions transcend mere sexual encounter, as the sex worker becomes a listening ear and shoulder to cry on about their marital woes, an avenue to release oneself freely, a source of ‘free’ marriage counseling and education in sexual intimacy. Married women also take on lovers or boyfriends for sexual satisfaction, and to feel desired, adored and youthful again.
Even the unemployed find freedom in suffering a financial loss and job insecurity. The mind is released from the daily demands of a work-life to wander off into places of sadness to imagination to creativity. The loss and pain that often comes with unemployment also avails one more time to think, invent, regain the courage to rebuild oneself, and recreate one’s freedom, through a new employment elsewhere, or by creating own employment.
Drug addicts unleash their pain and suffering through drugs, even if its a few minutes of ‘make-believe’ happiness. I have learned that crack cocaine users ultimately become addicted in a search for “that first high”, that can never be attainable again. They just want to relieve that moment of no fear, wild happy feelings and flying high in the cloud.
Ultimately, even in the most suffering comes moments of freedom for all of us. Moments when we would rather not be disturbed by any offers of love, attention or comfort from outside ourselves. When we all resort to the power within us to overcome suffering and define and recreate our freedom on our terms.

Nobody is Ever in a Permanent State of Being

We grow, we age
We age, we experience
We experience, we learn
We learn, we rethink
We rethink, we enlarge
We enlarge, we seek
We seek, we traverse, we travel
We travel, we encounter
We encounter we fall in love
We fall in love, we fall out unfulfilling
We fall out, we hurt 
We hurt, degenerate
We degenerate, we rejuvenate
We rejuvenate, we strive for peace
We strive for peace, we make peace
We make peace, we give peace
We give peace, We live Life
Lately, I have been going through the emotions. Various emotions. Why we fall in love? Why we let people into our lives? Why our hearts long for what has left us? Why we let others play with our hearts? Why we let our hearts long for the unavailable? Why we let the unavailable, unbothered and under-fulfilling and incompetent ruin our happiness? Why we pay attention, we weep, we sulk, we anger, we grope for those who should not have been in or enjoy our lives? Those who do not qualify to partake of our love?
Then I realize, it is human nature. Nothing is more human than to love, to err and to learn. Nothing is more human than to forgive, to dust off, to try again. Nothing is more human than optimism. If for nothing else, hope is all we should desire to recreate ourselves. To find the inner peace, to live life anew.
That comes with forgiving, Forgiving starts with ourselves. We cannot forgive others unless we forgive ourselves. Forgiving does not mean forgetting, it never will. But it is so worthy, in order to move on. In my experience, I have found beauty in two of the most hard-hitting life experiences: to forgive and to fall in love.
First, I unexpectedly forgave my father in 2013, extricating myself from deep wounds accumulated since. My father and I never had a relationship; except the biological attachment. I credit the death of my best friend in 2013 for opening up my heart to living life anew. I do not know, if it was her beautiful soul speaking to me. She always told me, “I pray that you will one day have a good relationship with your father.” I guess I had lost the only true soulmate [beside my mother], I knew understood me [more than my mother – I say], guarded my innermost secrets and cheered me on. And it happened. I completely forgave my father from the bottom of my heart, without coercion, mediation or cajoling. Now! I miss my father, many times! I have not forgotten all the wrong, pain and suffering he caused me. But I forgave him. At least I am now able to experience his happiness, and gratitude that I forgave him. He calls me from time to time, something that had never happened before. We sit down, talk and laugh, like time does not hold any painful memories between us!
Second, I have partook of the beauty of falling in love, and out. The “out” is most painful, but does not last forever. The “in” lasts forever. It is joyous reminiscing from time to time,  “falling in love”, a feeling distinctively apart from all other love relationships. The “out-lived love” prepares you to let go of any others, without succumbing to the same slow excruciating pain of love. It is equally intriguing pondering over why your heart fell for “that person” and not the other(s)! Especially, when the one you fall in love with and got away may never come clean to you how s/he really felt about you. Again, we make peace with the lost love, forgive, and live life.
Indeed “Love” and Forgiveness” epitomize my belief that Nobody is Ever in a Permanent State of Being. If we can love, we can forgive, and if we can forgive, we can love. Love for an inner peace; for goodness for ourselves and in others; for respect for self and others; for joy for self and others; for honor, success, celebration and understanding for self and others.
We, go through phases in life; hopefully we all do. Nobody is so evil without a glint of goodness! Even the mighty fall, soften and loosen up to different people and in different circumstances. We all love; we might not all know how to express our joys. Perhaps, our life circumstances might not allow us all, to smile or “make nice”, even when our hearts desire. Or we might not know or feel comfortable communicating our story. Maybe I might never hear my father tell his story from his mouth. At least I knew, he expressed his commitment to his family by providing an education to all his children, and a permanent roof for all his marital relationships. That fills me up! To his friends, he partied with them and made them party with him. He was a very trustworthy “kitty keeper” for plenty of his friends, and managed budding investments to fruition for many. Hopefully, they too, will remember him for that.
We, each have our insecurities, which are questioned, challenged and teased out as we progress in life. Sometimes our insecurities make us arrogant, introverted, aggressive, puppets, trigger-happy, or adventurous. At some point in life, it is all about “me”. Until we progress into “lovers of the earth” or “tree-huggers”. Or “fight for the rainforest” as a “survival for the fitness”. Finally, [or perhaps not] we [re]create goodness in ourselves and see goodness in others, and just agree to be, and let others be.
Whatever it is, we live and learn. We learn and let live. Hopefully, each one of us has a chance to life, to live longer to experience, to open ourselves up to learn, to love, to forgive, to give of ourselves, and to partake of what life offers us. And, to appreciate those who bring so much joy and pain in our lives, for they bring us great challenges, lessons and opportunities to become better and re-emphasize that we can never have a Permanent State of Being. Nor should we expect anybody else to stay permanently stagnant!

Know the One You’re With

Taking a break from my predominant running theme about “Education”, I chose to blog about relationships. Recent events have prompted me to write about why it is important to Know the One You’re With. Whether it is a sibling, child, spouse, lover, family or social network.

Plenty of us are guilty of passing judgment on others without fully knowing them. We think we can know a person merely through observing or interacting with their character, actions, interests, beliefs or experiences. If one is burbly, funny and entertaining, that person would be most likely considered happy and an extrovert, as opposed to a person with a calm demeanor. That, we did with one renown actor and comedian, till his mind boggling death revealed the cosmeticized pain and suffering he lived with from a childhood of unhappy family relations and feelings of neglect. The same is said of funny man “Nutty Professor”, who makes the world laugh, yet an introverted and gloomy around his closest family, as we learned through his divorce from ex-wife N. Mitchell.

Or perhaps we should not blame others for what they think they know about us based on our outward projections? Then again, should we really care what others think about us? Or perhaps we should expect that each on around us concerns her/himself more with getting to know those around them. I strongly believe in the value of “knowing everyone through their spoken truths”, in our quest for honest and humane relationships with those most close to us. Perhaps to spare us the resultant shock and denial that our neighbor, who grew up as an altar boy, volunteered at all community events, graduate from high school with straight  ‘As’, is the notorious village serial killer! Or the much-beloved school principal, who met and greeted kids as they entered the schoolyard every morning, was convicted of murdering his entire family of six, including his seven-month old baby and mother’s in-law! What about the shock after knowing that the dull girl from the corner shack, who never said a word in public or answered a question in class, always kept to himself, went on to win the nobel prize in literature! After all, we never expected anything profound to come from her; she was not among the popular girls, and no boy in her class wanted to date her! Right?

I say all this from personal observations, as much as from experiences. That we might not really know even those closest to us, including within our families. Perhaps we have never bothered to ask to hear their story from them; we have confidence in what we see and hear about them. We profile them according to our interpretations of their most glaring behavior, all the while ignoring the value of their own truths and subtle personality traits in making the whole person. Suddenly, we are shocked when they make life choices that do not auger with our understanding of them! Or they excel, ‘unexpectedly’!

One such person I know closely. He was the quintessential calm and quite child in his family. Nobody in his family thought he uttered a word out of his mouth, or that he could sustain a conversation! Around the family table he was the perfect listener to ever conversation, while his lips remained sealed! As a child, he was even scared of his own shadow, often bursted into screaming frenzies whenever a power outage occurred at their home at brought pitch-darkness! Incidentally, his schoolmates said he was a very entertaining and active person. At school, he and his best friend would adorn their ‘signature’ rubber-boots, stage ‘impromptu’ performances for other students, break it down to Marvin Gaye renditions, in exchange for money or something to eat.

Still at home, he was the quite kid that everyone granted his quiet amidst the noise. Until that shocking time when he fell sick with malaria, and started ‘mouthing off loud’. Initially, his family got excited about his parroting, assuming he was in recovery mood. Then his words became more rapid, signaling hallucination. Found out, when they rushed him to hospital that his fever was closing in to cerebral.

Fast forward, he goes off to college, but suddenly drops out and joined the military! His family were shell-shocked, that their quiet, timid child, scared of his own shadow was daring the hard knock military bootcamp, charged with that dreaded AK-47, spending cold nights in trenches waiting for the enemy, chasing after rebel fighters, and shooting known enemies of the state! The details of his military engagement are still scanty, but let’s just say, he was also part of the internal military intelligence!

The major details we found out about his life and interests are what he shared with us from his mouth. He proved to us that it is not enough to profile a person based on our observations and hear-say. We deserve to give each ‘horse’ a chance to tell its own his-/her-story, in order to have an informed opinion about and know him/her  truly well.

Many people put on a facade of strength, when in fact they have so many vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Growing up, I passed plenty of judgement on my mother for the decisions she made that I did not consider very sound and protective of her children, or even loving of herself. Later in life, through conversations with her where I heard her story from her mouth, I understood the choices she made. Now as a parent, I understand much more the decisions parent make, and the meaning of happiness to different people. Happiness is very relative! To a female parent, happiness might be for her child growing up close to the father, in the same geographical space with father or in the same home with the father. None of these are about her instant and personal gratification, which we have very much come to associate with happiness. Yet observers who have never walked the walk or are on the outside-looking-in might question why anyone would sacrifice happiness for the ‘harsh” uncertain conditions?

I reiterate that it is of paramount importance to know the person you are with!  We need to give people the benefit of doubt, allowing them to tell us their story from their mouths, and listening openly with no pre-judgement. Short of that, we are pandering half-truths about others, and perhaps missing a chance to develop honest relationships with people we are with by judging them based on our own conceptions of who we think they are.

When “Study Hard and You will Do Good is not enough, and Why the Need for Role Models

illustration source: NYT, "A Formula for Happiness”,   December 14, 2013 (Arthur C. Brooks)

illustration source: NYT, “A Formula for Happiness”, December 14, 2013 (Arthur C. Brooks)

Very often we hear these ‘words of the wise’: “Study hard and you will do good in life.”

But is it just cliché? After all, not all of us turn out the way we expect or proportional to the zeal and enthusiasm we put into our education. We have heard stories of the most intelligent and highly achieving academics turning to self-destruction, sometimes with fatal ending.

My father’s brother, a man with high intelligence and academic standing, received scholarships to the most prestigious world universities, earning a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upon return to Uganda, he failed to ‘find himself’ amidst friends he left behind. Plenty with less of the education him were doing extremely well in life, with thriving families and children. Meanwhile, the wife he left behind had married another man, whom she brought into their marital home, forcing my uncle to find a one-bedroom rental somewhere in the city. With a failed marriage, and social reintegration, his sorrows sent him into alcohol to seek consolation when he was not teaching. Moreover, he often showed up to teach drunk, until that fateful day when he was fatally hit by a speeding motorist while crossing the road drunk. Similar story about my friend’s dad! Highly education, as well, with degrees from prestigious western universities, but he too succumbed to HIV/AIDS, after miserably failing to reintegrate, a broken heart and womanizing.

Yet the most high-profile case is one about our 44th President’s father. Educated at the University of Hawaii via a prestigious African American Scholarship to very promising and outstanding students from his country, and at Harvard University in Massachusetts. He later return to his Kenya and worked as a senior government economist. But frustration with his country’s national politics and drinking destroyed his professional career, driving him into a motor accidents that later claimed his life.

So, how long can we keep telling our children and learners that studying hard will yield bright futures for them? Is the glass half full, with some unfinished business that we need to add to the conversation? How well do we know the intrinsic struggles of our highly intelligent and academic superachiever personalities do we know? I suggest that perhaps, we should add the value of role models, as an additional ingredient to enrich their education experience and post-graduation success for our learners/schoolers.

It is not enough to strive for an elite education, good grades and six figure job with a highly-rated professional institution. True some people succeed in following the ‘perfect logical route’: Go to the best elementary schools; enroll in after-school programs, reinforcement classes or prep school; graduate valedictorian from high school or close to the top of their class; score high on SATs; get into the best colleges; land prestigious summer internships between study and summer abroad escapades; graduate from college and scoop job placements among the best of corporate and nonprofit America; and earn six figure salaries.

Still, their success does not come from individual effort per se, nor is it always the ultimate indicator of happiness. After all, “Happiness Research” reminds us that “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”, does not imply bondage in unfulfilling, underachieving and hyper-exhausting six-figure jobs. Instead, happiness correlates greatly with achievement, the thrill of creativity and discovery, and the reward and comfort from pursuing own goals and initiatives. Happiness Research also point to the role family, faith and community contribute.

Many high career achievers are guided by the successes, expectations, visions, actions and profiles of their role models, often families, guardians, friends or community, whom they seek to emulate and please. Little wonder that children of doctors often grow up to pursue medicine, children of lawyers go to law school, architects breed architects, actors make actors, models, professors, and humanitarians. Not that some apples do not end up falling far from the tree, but plenty of good/successful apples fall close to the tree.

Like anything else, there are exceptions, such as children from homeless shelters, foster homes, farmworkers and first generation college-bound, making it to Harvard. Yet, their journey is not always the same as those with parental/community role models as doctors. Their role model might be their working class parent who have never set foot into an elite classroom or attained a college degree, who struggled to beg for a $1 on the streets to buy a burger meal every night or their farm worker parent or factory production or mining dad who worked unorthodox hours just to meet ends half-way.

So, what happens when they make it to Harvard but fail to ‘fit-in’ because the new environment is far from relatable to them? Or because they cannot find anybody from their background, anyone with shared life trajectory? Or, when their new elite circles have no room for the Association of kids who grew up in a homeless shelter or the Association of kids from the projects or The weird kids alliance? The office of student career services has no support for their type, and the African Students Group is not “Africanist enough?

The feeling of being an ‘outsider’ in one’s geographical spaces, contesting and re-creating ’normality’, resisting silence, has the potential of causing career apathy. Even an upbeat scholar may sometimes doubt the value and relevance of their career pursuits, increasingly feeling no satisfaction from the ‘mainstream’ line of engagement. Resultantly, a migration of career pursuits might happen, dictated partly by disappointment from not achieving one’s career target, while all along ignoring opportunities presented but not of one’s liking. In a twist, taking on anything to offset one’s responsibilities and obligations that come with pursuing an expensive education without own or family resources to buy it.

Ultimately, the lack of strong professional and personal support, and absence of satisfactory advice and mentorship, often hinders one’s ability to stay upbeat and invested in activities that do not offer happiness. Including, among well-mentored children,with ‘shinning’ role models to look up to but perhaps not ’strategically aligned’ to their interests. Now that I am a parent, I worry if all my effort teaching, educating, engaging with, my son, and engaging him in activities to hopefully advance his learning and social interaction will not mean a thing in his future! Not because there is no value in shaping our children’s destiny, but perhaps once again, it is not so much about working so hard and obtaining good grades, but working strategically.