When we were kids we used to be full of life and wonder. Every Ali, Chong and Muthu wanted to be policemen, doctors, lawyers, or CEOs. Some of us even wanted to be Superman.
Our parents would fill our tiny heads with stories of their past generation; how hard work and constant self-sacrifice enabled them to put just enough food and drink for the family on the table. How the world now was kinder to those with sharp minds and strong hearts, and anyone worth his salt could go on to further his education.
Where our parents stared at travel ads and sighed wistfully, we flew to those same distant lands in the pursuit of knowledge. Now we stand on the cusp of adulthood, ready to step forward and face the challenges and rigors of a salaried career.
Back then we wanted to be Superman. Twenty years down the road, how much of that idealism remains in us? As we age will we prefer to continue down the same path out of complacency and fear, or will we change paths even if it means traversing difficult and unknown terrain?
If we wanted to conquer the world as boys and girls, if we had dreamed of changing the ways of its people then, what now? Do we still shelter those ideals inside us, or has “reality” tempered the passion of our souls?
Wen Li asks, what are you afraid of? I know what I fear most. I fear by the time I am thirty or more, the world and all its evils will dull me, blinding me to the fact that once upon a time I did have dreams and aspirations.
I fear that I will be stuck in a dead-end job, running errands and attending meetings 9-to-5 just for the money it puts in my pocket.
I know what I want to be and, more importantly, I know what I don’t want to be.
I don’t want to be everyone else, despairing once-dreamers who have lost their awesomesauce in the endless rat race of life.
What are you afraid of?