We are entering week 16 at the LSE, and that means the final quarter of the year. Where did time go? I am finally putting on my game face and am finally feeling the pressure of life in this “real” world. There seems to always be something going on – places I need to be, things I need to do, people I need to see. I find myself running around meeting various obligations and questioning what all the busying around is for. I no longer have time to think, to feel and to be, those were the luxury of life in Cameroon.
When I sit in development classes and hearing discussions of democracy, institutions and economic development, all I can really think about is the simplicity of my life in village. After two years of living au village, I’m extremely conflicted between modern world efficiency and the things you have to give up to reach such level of efficiency – a real community, nature, appreciating simply being alive, etc.
I don’t want to live in the past, so I am attempting to move forward. Despite all of my nostalgia, I’m putting myself out there to get my hand on the corporate ladder, to get with the program and remembering what it takes to “succeed” in this world. But when I walk around the LSE campus seeing people stressing out and discussing the horrible consequence of not getting a job with a top 15 investment bank or consulting firm, I feel sad for them. Don’t they see that there is so much more to life?
I miss living a life that always has a purpose. Peace Corps advertises itself as “the toughest job you’ll ever love”, and it’s true. It’s tough in a very different way. Living in such different environment, I was in touch with my deepest strengths and weaknesses. Yet even during my lowest moments, I could find purpose by having one simple conversation with a villager. There is something profound about the ability to change lives not through any noble act, but simply being present and converse.
Day in and day out now, I follow the motion of grad school grind, and during the low days here, I don’t know where to find inspiration and to feel purposeful again. So I look back to my pictures and draw inspiration from the past. It’s easy to become suffocated by the conventional societal pressure. But it’s important to remember, especially under high stress situations, that expectations are relative. I can only do my best to find a purpose in life for me.
Today, I miss Cameroon. They come in waves. But tomorrow is another day. Moving on, moving forward.
In between the library and my shoebox room, I did manage to do some fun things and I’ll share them in due time.