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Taking A Hard Left Turn

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

More often than I would like to admit, I have questioned the meaning of life and, every time, when I arrive at an answer, I naively assume it is the final answer to my search. So, I am always taken by surprise when I find myself standing once again in front of the same question. And, every time, I find myself making what seem to be intrinsic changes to my life path.

So, here I am once again, asking myself the same questions: What do I want out of life? What do I want to stand and die for? What do I want to do day-in and day-out? And, what kind of life do I want, and why don’t I start pursuing it now? Is it worth the risk? I have tried time and again over the past few months to evade the very loud answer which my inner voice repeats: To learn to play the piano, to garden, to host weekly dinners for those who can’t find food, to enjoy the warmth of family and friends, to pursue and practice creative arts, and to have a laid-back life. I try force a different answer on myself, one that sounds more like the studious, hard-working, ambitious Nesma I have seen work tooth and nail to ‘succeed’; an answer along the lines of: I want hold a decision-making position at the United Nations, manage projects and portfolios that change the lives of millions, and inspire large and small teams. But, unfortunately, this answer stirs nothing but lethargy in me.

I tried the life society has tried to sell us as The Dream, and it satisfied me for a while; but alas, no more! My soul needs healing. My soul needs to retreat and express itself. My soul is tired of chasing high and wild dreams, and wants to live a low-key life. This is most likely a phase. I imagine myself hungry for a challenging career in a few years after a long and tranquil breather. So, as I stand before this question, I ask myself: How much should I sacrifice for this? Rather, how much can I bear? Can I keep up with the practicalities of life and achieve short-term goals, while still making room for what my souls yearns for? Do I have the drive to continue to work and be productive, and the motivation to find ways to incorporate piano and (more) writing into my life? The old Nesma would say, point-blank: Of course, why not? But the new Nesma really just wants to chill.

I am returning from a long break. Well, truthfully, my break ended thirty days ago, but I have not been able to kick-start my brain and career-driven part of myself just yet. I laugh as I type this out because it is somehow funny how my brain set up camp in Vacation Land and is refusing to move. I also laugh because there is little else that I can do. For the first couple of weeks, I was annoyed at and impatient with myself. Now, I have learned to appreciate it. If I am facing internal resistance of such magnitude, it must be hinting at something. Well, more like screaming at this point.

I worry, of course, about my performance at work and school. I worry that I am wasting an opportunity and destroying what could have been. I live with an underlying anxiety, no doubt about it. But, I think it is time for me to stop resisting. Maybe I am not meant to be what I think I ought to be or have the potential to become. Maybe I should just be—just be me.

‘Just Me’ resists opening her eyes for thirty to sixty minutes in the morning, and tries to force herself back to sleep. Then, when Just Me finally opens her eyes, she wakes up with a hollow feeling in her chest. She stays in bed for at least an hour, acknowledging the accomplishments she has made with her recovery from depression, trying to identify something to look forward to during the day, and breathing through the gaping hole until it is bearable to get out of bed. Just Me spends the day trying to be productive. Simple tasks such as replying to emails now take a few weeks (no joke) to accomplish. She takes walks and breaks as she needs, and she has learned to allow herself to write or read or watch shows if she is unable to be productive (which is every day). Just Me has fun with her friends, though, and appreciates them more every day. In a gist, Just Me tries to let herself be…

In all honesty, I am not sure where this road will take me. But, I have decided to contemplate the signpost I stand before today, and take a hard left turn. I wonder what my life would look like in three years time—or dare I say: thirty years—if I live that long…

I suppose a decision has been made as I typed out this post…


Sketch: Everyday, we are presented with opportunities to change our lives. It is up to us to choose...

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