I once saw this web comic once on Facebook during my usual somewhat-obsessive internet frolicks. In the first panel, there was a guy clad in an ordinary t-shirt and jeans sitting on the curb by some road, despondently clutching his head in his hands…but his head was a Rubik’s Cube. Anyone who has ever accepted the challenge of the Rubik’s Cube can already tell what it looked like in that picture—hopelessly jumbled up, with absolutely no way of sorting out the mess. I have never met anyone who had successfully solved the puzzle on that thing, and honestly, even if I did, I would never trust that person because some accomplishments are beyond the realm of humanness.
In the second panel of that comic, the same guy was wearing a suit, and was looking at a framed photo of himself in his, I assume, younger days, when his head was still jumbled up. His Rubik’s Cube head now had all the colors aligned. The caption on the comic was something along the lines of, “You will figure it out someday, don’t despair.”
Did you ever feel like your life was just happening without you and had left you trailing behind trying to catch up? Like everybody was well on their way to success and you were still floundering? Like your whole existence was an unsolved Rubik’s Cube?
When I turned 18 I was as excited as anybody on the cusp of womanhood could be. I was geared up, I was planning, I knew how the next five or so years of my life would play out. I was sure that things would work out— they always did in the novels I was perpetually immersed in. I was ready. A couple of years later, I was sitting at home wondering if I could simply let go of all my ambition and just allowed myself to float along the course of my existence. Everybody else seemed to have it together and to be moving swiftly towards their wildest dreams. I didn’t even know what I wanted to with my life. Almost nothing happened the way I imagined it would. Right now, another couple of years later, life continues to surprise me.
People of my age are always chasing after the next big thing, unwilling to take life as it comes. We’ve been accused before of wanting to grow up too fast. We don’t want to wait for our Rubik’s Cube to be solved. I mean, life today is pretty fast-paced. It feels like if you stop for a moment to catch your breath you will look up to find that your ship already sailed without you. We’re always looking around to be sure that we are doing as well as the next guy. The irony is that despite our hurried way of doing life, Adulthood rarely finds any of us ready. It just kind of creeps into the room when you’re laughing at the latest memes on Instagram and when the WiFi is down and you look at the real world outside your screen, you find it sitting there on your couch. But we are like this because there is deep-seated fear of one day having nothing to say as everybody else begins to tell their success stories
Many times, in our efforts to get ahead, we lose ourselves in other people’s journeys. We find ourselves running other people’s races and competing with people who are too busy chasing their own goals to even notice us. As if we were already not comparing ourselves with people enough, social media stepped in to further make us feel like we are getting left behind. And so it continues. We do more and more things to keep up with everybody else and end up forgetting that we are not all on the same journey.
If we could learn to slow down and take life a step at a time we would know that the Rubik’s cube is probably never going to stay jumbled up forever. We wouldn’t feel the pressure to run other people’s races because our own lives don’t seem to be moving fast enough. It’s okay not to know everything right now; it’s part of the adventure. We all have different growth processes. Some people’s dreams take off when they are only 16 years old and others only accomplish their goals at 65. Some people learn some lessons faster and some need some time. Life gives us different lemons. And if we could just learn to focus on our own journeys we would know that someday in our futures, the colors are already aligned.
Author: Michelle Korir
Michelle Chepchumba is contributor at Wanjiru Kihusa. She loves cats and enjoys reading and writing in an attempt to discover the mysteries of the human mind. She also works in mental health and writes about life at www.thescroll.co.ke.