For two weeks I was on a grape farm, and no there were no grapes. It is a place far from the fast pace life of Windhoek. The first few days were a constant battle of trying to get network coverage, but I soon gave up on that when even the landlines went down for a few hours. And in those few hours, when I couldn’t send or receive emails, text messages or phone calls, I began to appreciate just how beautiful the place was.
The farm is surrounded by a range of mountains, each with it’s own distinct personality. The air is still, and the earth vibrates with positive energy. It’s a place where people leave their doors open at night, never lock their cars, and enjoy family dinners at the table every night. It’s an environment where you can’t resist a late night stroll amongst the vines, enjoying the presence of stars that one seldom sees in Windhoek. It was a time when I had to listen and process my own thought. There was no family, friends or TV to provide a solid distraction. I found myself asking questions such as: Who am I really? What was I born to do? And I happy, or does my happiness rely on the presence of others in my life? These questions seem simple enough until you have to start answering them.
I got stuck in the first question. Every time I tried to answer the question, I found myself stuck on the ideas that others have of me. I am an accountant, or at least that’s what they call me at work. But if that is who I am, then there is no individuality, for my office is full of accountants and we are not the same person. A degree cannot be the definition of me because it’s only one sheet of paper on which I can’t even write the first moments of my life. It is merely a title by which I’m referred to, and not the person I have become. I am my mother’s daughter, my brother’s sister, my friend’s pal, and my aunt’s nephew. I am the weird girl at parties, the debater that doesn’t drink, the writer with no book and the wife with no husband. I have become what the world tells me to be, and only now have I realised I’m not sure who I really am. Or maybe the definitions and titles given over the years are simply different aspects of the me I’m trying to define.
With the question of identity comes the question of destiny. Are you in the right profession? Does the job you do tie into the work you wish to do? This question has always been a little tricky for me. I have always wanted to be anything and everything. Fir me it is about the experience of being and not the actual profession I’m undertaking. It is a scary thought to be stuck in one place for the rest of your life. To think that maybe you can only be a doctor, lawyer, bookkeeper or teller for the rest of your life. I wonder at the experiences I would have if I were a waitress, or singer. Would I them live a life that seems more fulfilled? Would I be content with where I was at all times, or would I still be in search for a deeper meaning to my life. They say do what makes you happy, but that soon follows with the speech of how what makes you happy doesn’t pay the bills. I believed this for a while, until I read a story about a man that quit his job as a doctor to become a sewer cleaner and made millions, the famous radio DJ that refused to become and engineer, or the writer that followed his own path and not the one chose by his parents. Yesterday my mom said this to me (a wise woman she is): “We all have a calling in life. It’s the yearning you feel to be someone different, some place different, but at the same time being who you are. It’s a thirst you can’t quench or ignore. The only thing you can do is just be.”
When you finally figure out who you are and what you are born to do, you realise that you are in charge of your own destiny. You will no longer feel broken at the loss of a friend or significant other, as you know the journey you are on will lead you to people who are waiting to add positively to your life.