A Fast Car And No Road Map

By Sonya Rehman

I made a very difficult decision in December 2015, when I decided to give up a flashy job in a flashy city for a new career that was beginning to quickly pull me into an embrace. Teaching. Academia.

My younger (immature) self would’ve balked at the idea of a career in education – the thought of a slow-paced, syllabus, timetable-centric, idea rich, early morning-ness way of life as opposed to a more ‘thrilling’ career-path: media. But perhaps this is what age does to you? With time, wisdom and the sprouting of a few white hairs, a little nagging voice tells you, repeatedly, that your current path just isn’t cutting it anymore.

The thing is, I’ve always been addicted to the rush, the thrill of newness if you will. New beginnings – from work to romance and everything in between, adventure and the possibility of a fresh experience would always set me off. I was constantly looking, seeking, wanting more. Perpetually hungry, constantly in need of a ‘life fix.’ But over the years, introspection (and exhaustion) tempered my rogue heart. From coming into contact with a myriad of personalities, phases, experiences and predicaments, each served a unique purpose – harnessing me to cool my aching heels and stop running.

One aspect of my current job is to sit in and observe English classes; teaching methods, student engagement, etc. Each observation is followed up by a meeting with the teacher regarding areas of improvement and curriculum development.
This morning, class nine was a full house and I remembered what it was like to be a teenager again. I noticed everything; the way the boys got excited about winning a grammar competition in class – their fists animatedly pumping the air, the raw pride in their tremulous voices as they read out their essays one by one. At first, I felt myself feeling slightly cynical towards their grand, naive display of enthusiasm. “What do they know?” the sardonic, bitter old voice within me said. “What do they know what more is to come, the battles that await them?”

But minutes into the class and something within shifted slightly. Suddenly, I was their age, and I felt, so strongly, the hope that comes with being a young person in a not yet lived, discovered life. The children were radiant with hope, and that is what had initially made me subconsciously recoil. These young students, with their baby faces and long, gangly limbs, bits of facial hair like odd foliage on a barren landscape, soft faces, girl-like…Life, wisdom, hardships and triumphs waiting in the wings to shape and jut out soon-to-be determined jawlines, stubborn Adam’s apples…boyish bones waiting to broaden, thicken, like branches from a large oak. The final masterpiece.

I remembered my own young-ness, softness, my baby sadness, who knew what would be, would be…

And it was then that I felt this way of living, this fast car without a road map had to stop forever, not just for the interim. Realized too, that this constant state of flux, rush and discontentment was aging me, not allowing me to really luxuriate in hope. Such a simple word, hope – yet so difficult to resuscitate in one’s adult life.

If I can nail this, truly nail this, I will forever be full-up, filled to the brim, never lacking, regretting, wanting, needing more.



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