It’s one day before my final undergraduate exam and I’ve come a really long way. Year 5. Not even PHDs (at least in NUS) are that long. I keep telling myself it doesn’t matter. At year 5, at my last module, my cap cant move. Even if I fail this, my degree classification doesn’t move. But then there’s still this innate hope to do well.
On the eve on my last exam, I had a conversation with someone. Quite a frustrating one, but still a conversation and I guess you can always learn something about yourself from any conversations. There are a few people who can get me agitated and frustrated and this person happens to be one of them.
We were talking about jobs and arrogance just permeated the entire conversation. Well, he did have a right to be arrogant (if it is even a right) considering he’s rather successful.
I’ve come to realise different people in life will tell you about what is the most important asset or trait or ability to have. More often than not, the “most important” thing is usually what they have.
Smart people will tell you intelligence is what you need to succeed in the workforce. People with good results will tell you grades are important. Social people will tell you it’s all about friends and the networks you have. Religious people will tell you to prioritise religion.
I think that’s because of 2 reasons. 1) If you think results are important, you will chase after grades and 2) If you work hard chasing grades, you need to protect your self-esteem and tell yourself grades are important because you need to assure yourself that you have all you need to survive and thrive.
Well, they’re not wrong and they could all be right as well. Everyone has their own viewpoint. What gets me is that when they think their viewpoint should be the ONLY viewpoint. That bigotry and arrogance.
The refusal to see that other people could value other things other than money in life. That other people have other challenges in life. That other jobs are good jobs too. That different people have different aspirations.
And although he tried to make me feel small, I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for not falling into the trap of trying to prove myself to him. I’m proud that he didn’t succeed in making me feel bad. I’m proud of myself to realise at that moment that my accomplishments are mine and God’s and they arent meant to be brandished like a trophy for others to see. I’m not ashamed of them and I won’t hide it, but they’re not a tool to brag, they’re a tool to be more productive in what I do.
I still do feel like I have a lot to be proud for. I’m not a top student, I’m not first class (even though many people think I am for whatever reasons, I’m not), I’m not famous and I’ve never done anything big. But I feel like I’m the person I want to be at this moment. I’ve achieved what I wanted with integrity. Sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight and people can make you discontented. There’s always more you can achieve. But I’m glad it was only momentarily and I took a step back and think and appreciate and be grateful. I’m glad I remember what I really want in life.
At the end of the day, I know what I’ve accomplished, I know what challenges I had to overcome. I know what I can be proud of. I know what my goals are and where I want to be. I know what my definition of success is. I know I shouldn’t let someone else tell me otherwise.
And so, I hope I never forget what I learnt today. I hope I never let someone else convince me that I want more than what I genuinely want. I hope that I’ll never impose what’s important, what’s priority and what way to take on others. I hope I’ll never be too arrogant to take someone else’s viewpoint. And whatever I may accomplish, I hope I never be too insecure to have to brag or put others down. I hope I never think that I know best and not listen to others. There’s a big difference on being certain of knowing what’s best for yourself and knowing what’s best.
I went back and thought about things. And my wonderful man of a boyfriend chatted with me on telegram. I thought about that and realise that that’s was something that person will never get. This sense of belongingness, this sense of contentment, this sense of joy and hope and support. That I had my life ahead of me to do whatever I chose to. That autonomy. That person to celebrate life’s successes, big or small. Isn’t that what it’s all about. What’s the point of having success there’s no one to share it with. Maybe that’s something he’ll never understand, and that’s okay.
I may or may not get there someday. I may or may not be more successful than him someday, but that doesnt matter. He’s not my yardstick anymore. I have learnt to define life myself. And until then, I’ll keep a life full of love and laughter with the people I love and who loves me.
He walked away today from our conversation, with his ego temporally boosted. I guess that’s his reality and since he never does let anyone else get a word in edgewise or take anyone else’s perspective, it’ll always be his mentality. That mentality serves him and I respect him for his accomplishments, but I know that’s not what I am about.