Where does this path lead?

Where does this path lead?

That’s the question we will always face.
Problems arise when our intended path does not lead to a destination that others want us to be at. How many times have we struggled to make a decision, pitting our passion against another’s passion? It becomes less of “does this path lead me to where I want to go”, than it is of “does this path lead me to where they want me to be”, or “can I be safe on this path?”.

Where does this path lead?

When I was 14, I thought triple sciences was The Way, that I had to be in the top 40 of my cohort so that I could enrol in the elite class. Being in the ‘best’ class meant a greater chance at staying within the top ranks, didn’t it?

I struggled. I was having difficulties managing three pure science topics, and I was lazy. I couldn’t quite comprehend formulae; I liked science and I still laugh at geeky science jokes, but I couldn’t quite conjure up any love for the subjects to work harder for it. I learnt. However, I felt that I could have learnt more taking up literature or other humanities subjects. Also, I wasn’t doing very well in those subjects, which essentially rendered the whole “I can go to more places with sciences” argument obsolete.

Where does this path lead?
The question loomed over me threateningly as I contemplated my subject combinations after Os.
Arts versus Hybrid versus Science.
2 years spent with the three sciences and double math. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The path I should take. Most people thought it was a non-question. After all, the science route opened up more opportunities in the societal context then. It would have qualified me for most faculties if I did well. The heart leaned towards the Arts. The head and advice leaned towards the Sciences.

University requirements, job prospects, safety nets.
Which path do I take?
No better or worse, no right or wrong, just head and heart.

Head and heart, not head or heart. I realised that in deciding which path to take, we should stop seeing paths in binaries, stop seeing every decision as  a full on confrontation between the head and the heart. It’s easier to convince yourself, and naysayers, if you’ve got both head and heart firmly in place on your journey. Aside from asking where the path leads, maybe it’s time to ask ourselves another question.

Do I have my head and heart in place? 

I believe that every route demands a degree of passion, together with effort, before stellar results can be achieved. (Feel free to disagree.) The completion of any goal requires both head and heart. It demands the right attitude and it demands self-awareness. Following your passion doesn’t mean you can be lazy and it doesn’t constitute a reason for you to fail and give the reason that “people who follow their passions have it worst anyway”. I researched my options, went through days of reading up on the different course requirements. At the end, I realised that I prized passion above everything. I can’t go through more years of science. I know myself enough to know that, it would be a daily struggle to study the sciences for the next few years. What it demands of me, the passion for the sciences, I don’t have it.
Also, it’s so much easier to find the silver lining in every day if I’m doing something I like, even if remotely. To me, passion, with hard work, naturally leads to results. Results that I would be happy with, not results that society thinks I can only be happy with.

My heart is still in it. 

I am still as lost as ever. I know the general direction I would like to go toward. However, as I learn and am increasingly exposed to so much more, my interests increase as well and my uncertainty grows. However, if there is one thing I am sure of, it is that I enjoy this path that I am on. For all its overgrown weeds, there is beauty in the weeds. I may get lost, heck, I may not even end up where I thought I would be – a beautiful castle or a humble cottage. What I can say with conviction is that, I will keep on walking anyway, and make the most out of the routes I’ve chosen.

I once read a book with a thought-provoking title – Why be happy when you can be normal? This rings true for the question some parents might have asked at one point.

Like every other parent, my parents were similarly concerned about the course combination I intended to take. It’s understandable. They belong to the generation that had to bear the brunt of society’s increasing obsession with certification and higher learning. Experience wasn’t enough anymore, certification was. A younger individual with paper certification could easily render their years of experience obsolete. They belong to the generation where career paths were slightly more clearcut, with most of them learning on the job and then doing what they’ve been doing because it works out. Passion probably didn’t consider as strongly then. Perhaps that is a learning point as well, that level of resilience. Their questions are understandable, but it shouldn’t be restricting. All they need to know is that you know what you’re doing. They need to know that even if you don’t, you will still be resilient to get through it and find your next route and eventually achieve the results you want.

My head and heart will grow with this. 

Everyone can be normal, but when we’re happy, that’s when the extraordinary happens. The common experiences we have – they become something different, they are remembered in a different lens, they conjure extraordinary feelings within us. Sometimes, it is more than knowing if the end-goal is what we want, because it is difficult to know for sure anyway. Rather, it’s about whether we can enjoy and learn from the process of finding out where this path leads as well. We learn and are shaped the most from the processes we undergo.

Where does this path lead?

I don’t know, but it’s okay because  I know I am for this path. I’m enjoying every bit of it, even the uncertainties and I will make the most out of all my experiences.  Also, I have conviction, and that is is enough for me now.

**To any parent reading this, passion as a consideration is often underrated but passion is more logical than it often seems. Instead of immediately dismissing your child’s dreams and intended route and imposing your dreams on them, listen to them. Make your child convince you. If they can convince you, it means they themselves are convinced of this path they intend to take. We will never know for sure what the future holds, and while there is a tendency to encourage your child to seek a more reliable/sturdy rice bowl, the fact remains that we would never know for sure what each route would effectively yield.  So, can’t it be enough for now for them to start off with a strong conviction of their desired path?

#A shout-out to my parents who have understood and respected the value I place on my happiness in my every decision. While I am not the best student, I am grateful that I am still spoken of with pride and my decisions supported.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on to the unknown beyond. and commented:
    I was totally relating to her initially… but the difference is that at least she’s good at writing whereas I am not. Lol. Game over for me.


    1. Mich says:

      Omg can you not! Hahah I was a bit worried when I saw the “but” HAHAH was half expecting a “but this piece turned out to be horrible” hehe thank you for liking what I’ve written! And lol it’s never game over🙆🙆


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