I have an incredible friend who, through our conversations and learning from each other, I’ve come to hold dear. She lives between two countries. She is studying pharmaceutical sciences in France and biology in Belgium, and comes back home during lengthy holidays.
For an inquisitive person like myself, she’s amazing for the perspective she lends me due to her travels. And more crucially, the people she meets and interacts with.
She becomes far more important when you consider that, yes, I can Google many of the things I wish to know about the part of the world she is in. However, it would be more difficult getting the knowledge in the way I do from our interactions.
Through emotional, human and thoughtful connections. This makes all the difference to me.
Think for a moment about jobs machines and robots fail to do well. They are ones in which people exert their human-ness, superior cognitive abilities, connection and soul. A machine cannot do that.
Anyway, Bathabile recently turned 31. Me being Themba Jay, I asked her about how she feels and more crucially, her worldview at this age.
“I guess it’s a continuation. When I turned 30, a lot changed regarding how I viewed the world, how I treat myself and others.
“But I don’t think it changes in one birthday, I just think I began to notice the change. A lot of freedom and peace of mind, the 20’s were a nightmare of self doubt,” she WhatsApp’ed me back her thoughts.
At this point, the concession about doubting herself through-out her 20’s blew me away! I appreciated the honesty. I lapped it up, and then introspected. ‘Are my doubts about my abilities and myself standing in the way of my contributing fully, creating art, and impacting the world?’, I began interrogating myself while we spoke.
She had struck a chord!
“[Themba] In my 20’s, I was always concerned with being the best in the room. Now I’ve learnt that it’s okay to just be in the room because ultimately each person in the room has their own purpose. No matter how competitive people can be, we all have different dreams and there’s no one that’s going after my dream.”
Have you ever thought about why you are competitive. Or, just why you treat other people with disrespect, even? I’d argue that there’s an issue propelling that. Whether it be insecurities or something else forcing you to use situations to validate yourself in any way possible.
Here is something to ponder…
Do you want to be the best because you peg yourself at no other level?
Or, do you want to be the best because you want to show other people just what you capable of?
About this particular subject we were going on about, Bathabile concluded by touching on a point regarding being comfortable in one’s own skin.
“I don’t worry about whether I’m beautiful enough or intelligent enough or whatsoever enough. Things that I must say at some point used to worry me. I know that I’m always doing my best to become a better me and that’s enough [for me], and only I can define who the better me is supposed to be.”
One of the reasons I am fond of having these types of conversations with other human beings — often wiser than I am — is for the simple yet critical reason: I don’t want to find myself perpetuating the saying, “Life begins at 40.”