I’m writing this, in defiance of the numerous deadlines I have pending on my plate. I’m writing this because I feel the need to scream above the noise of the cacophony of voices in my head. I’m writing this because I played Asphalt 8: Airborne, for over an hour yesterday, and I kept crashing into walls in all the races. A game that normally helped me concentrate failed woefully, for the first time. My car, like my mind, was a wreck. I’m writing this, because I’ve heard it said many times that writing is therapeutic, so I hope that at some point while writing this, I would have figured out my direction in life.

Yesterday, someone spoke to me about how they felt everyone was leaving them behind, including me. They said that it seemed everyone else had it all figured it out. Everyone else had a career, a business they were already pushing, while this person was still trying to figure out this adult life. And this person kept using ME as an example of those people who had it all figured out. ME? The guy preparing for a professional exam, in a field he has no experience in and after three months of reading, still doesn’t understand jack? Me, the guy with an email full of application letters that never got acknowledged and rejections. The guy struggling with managing family expectations versus his own expectations. The guy who burns through friends and relationships like Andrew’s Liver Salts. The guy chasing a career in a field that doesn’t even exist, in a country, three ages behind the rest of the world. Yet somehow, I’m supposed to be one of those who has it all figured out. Wow, here I was thinking you had it all figured out. Your future looked definitely brighter than mine.

A lot of times, in different scenarios, I’ve had this conversation with different people. When you cut through the whining and the ‘Boss, I hail!’, and ‘Show me the way’, somehow, everyone, or at least, most people think the other person has it all figured out, while they don’t. Yet that other person thinks they don’t have it all figured out, and the other other person is one who has it all figured out. Begs the question, who has it all figured out?

Who’s that person that has actually got their shit together? They’ve got a clear path to success ahead of them in business, career, politics, non- profit work or some other meaningful venture. Who’s that person who isn’t stuck in a dilemma about what people think of him/her, versus who they really are? Who’s that person who can zigzag from task to task, without feeling the need to scream, or can doze off without waking up to a guilty conscience?

At some point, the concept of ‘having it all figured out’, must have meant something. There must be people out there who it applies to, before the internet and social media made it a trendy word to be associated with, so that now, anyone who walks at a brisk pace and has some portfolio attached to their name, automatically has their shit together.

Whatever it means, I know it doesn’t apply to me. I have never had it all figured out. My life, at least from the time I entered university, has been a series of experiments, testing, taking risks with everything, like reading for Law of Contract (Second Semester) the morning of the exam. Before you say, ‘Shana’, I escaped with a D.

Looking back, I have had more failures than successes. I have backed down from things and people more times than I have risen up to the challenge. I have disappointed people more times than I have satisfied them. But somehow, in the midst of the mess, I still make lemonade.

Analyst/Emerging Tech Lead, Tech Hive Advisory | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher

Analyst/Emerging Tech Lead, Tech Hive Advisory | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher