Steve Thairu Mbaki

Hook, Line and Sinker : Life’s Short Story

In the recent past, I have been grappling with this thing called the meaning of life. I feel like I have been had. I had a pretty normal upbringing that did not prepare me for the world that is today. I guess the truth is the same for many people grappling with meaning, identity and purpose. They call it life. An indescribable adventure, they say. A vast ocean filled with possibilities, shimmering with the promise of happiness. I, a pretty ‘classic’ person, believed in this fantasy. Little did I know that the journey would be a loud one, marked by highs and lows. With some even feeling like they might suffocate you.

The hook came first, much like a fish, I saw a shiny promise of adventure and bold discoveries. Everything glittered with the promise of adventure, love, discovery and fulfilment. I leaned in arms wide open to embrace what was ahead of me. I was stepping into personal growth and self-discovery.

Time goes by so slowly. The once vibrant line has now grown dull and rigid. The youth shuttered right in front of my eyes, the responsibilities and expectations pulling me down like an anchor. With each trial I faced, loneliness became the gloomy water I saw. The initial thrill of life faded with each passing season. Is this how we are walking through this thing called life, lonely and alone and with the weight of the world on our shoulders?

As the years pass, I am releasing more that we, much like the fish, we are never meant to be truly free. We were destined for the net, the inevitable harvest. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. I tagged against the line, looking for a desperate means of escape. But it held firm not knowing that on the other line is the fishermen who want their harvest. I sank exhausted and heavy-laden, a leaden weight pulling me towards the murky abyss.

When you get down there, where it lies quiet with despair, something unexpected happens. The beauty in the stillness is then unveiled. You get to see the resilience of the booming life that is below. The quiet companionship. It wasn’t the life I had imagined for myself, but it is life nonetheless. Which comes with a different set of challenges and possibly opportunities.

I continue to navigate the tidal motion of life’s currents, trying to embrace all the highs, normals and lows with an equal measure of openness. I’m figuring out how to love the snapshots of satisfaction and overflow, relishing the pleasantness of progress like a very much procured triumph.

As I have not yet been reeled out of the waters and I may not know what lies ahead, I cast my line into the unknown with renewed optimism, trusting that the waters will always lead me home, where there’s love and acceptance. A place of being chosen and choosing too. I realised life wasn’t about grand adventures, but about finding beauty in the unexpected. This beauty is found every day, in the mirror, in your surroundings and in you too.