This noon has been dedicated to what I’d like to call “thinking about my future”. Considering the countless possibilities of where I’d like to purposefully bring myself from here is exciting, and extremely frightening. All at the same time- uncertainty never fails to present an astonishing mix of emotions. Seated at a humble cafe quietly tucked in Haji Lane, the ceiling fan spins efficiently overhead and I’m full from a yummy dish of fish and chips. The name of the cafe is apt: “I am…” This is exactly what my thoughts this afternoon has been about.
I am trying to make sense of what experiences to today has meant for me because they are the most vivid references from which I can possibly draw clearer ideas of what makes up the essence of me: the values I stand for, the beliefs close to heart and the hopes I have for the future that lies ahead. In my recent read titled “Emotional Chaos to Clarity”, Moffitt warns against believing that the stories we make of our experiences as the complete representation of our essence. According to Moffitt, it is not our story that defines who we are, but the intentions and values that had shaped how the story panned out that decides who we truly are. That is to say that if you had argued with someone for example, it is not the story of how you had retaliated angrily that defines you, but the underlying reason for your retaliation- your worry for that friend, perhaps, is then the intention that defines you as it shows you’re a friend who cares about others dearly. I am one who has often attributed my responses to stimuli to the stories I have once lived through- the emotions so real and memories so vivid, they become reasons for my defensive mechanisms in similar events. Today I am trying to dig deeper beneath these stories for my essence and perhaps then, my hopes for the future will be less fuzzy.
I am also considering where the line between capacity and duty is to be drawn- if we were endowed with the capacity to achieve something, where lies the boundary that encloses what we are obligated to achieve with that capacity. I recall that back in our alma mater, the idea of noblesse oblige was one that was revisited over and over especially in our graduation year. The phrase simply put, means “privilege entails responsibility”. The quality education and resources invested is no more of a luxury than a magical mix of affinity- then, how much are we obligated to give back? And at the expense of what?
Filled with gratitude as I leave the cafe today, I am going to be thinking for a while. Afternoons like this, I’ve missed you.