“In the end we are all just searching for truth, that which is greater than ourselves.”

Greetings dear readers, it’s been a while since we’ve met, hasn’t it? Six months have passed since I last published, and I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t always down to a lack of inspiration. Nevertheless, here I am. I originally meant for this piece to be called “Twenty Seventeen”, a couple of intensely reflective paragraphs that would, or so I hoped, provide an insightful look into my past year. The thing is, having explored countless themes over the years – friendship, love, and heartbreak among many others – I just couldn’t find a refreshing angle for my nascent article.

I was desperate to crack an unclaimed combination of letters, to imbue my readers with a sense of childlike wonderment. And so I discarded every draft I deemed inadequate, tossing away countless hours of hard work – all labelled unworthy by their own creator. Driven wild by the desire to craft an artificial epiphany for my readers, how ironic it is that I eventually had my own. It struck me – perhaps after jettisoning my hundredth draft – that perfection isn’t a prerequisite for meaning. I was merely unable to accept the fact that meaning can be found anywhere, even in the gaps and crevices that dot the surface of an unpolished thought. My ambition outsized my audience, and while the pursuit of perfection is a noble cause, it’s an impossible one.

Perhaps that’s the reason why I decided to name this piece “Truth”. It’s a rather nondescript title, one that relieved the pressure associated with one as grand as “Twenty Seventeen”. While some might label such a move as a cowardly one – a practice in avoidance rather than confrontation – I believe all of us are entitled to give ourselves some leeway from time to time. Let’s get back to the point. Personal growth was ever-present throughout 2017, and I could only watch on helplessly as the last wisps of my adolescence were blown away by the wall of smoke that’s adulthood.

Admittedly, I was often lost in the thick haze, unsure of how to proceed. Many offered me their guidance, though not always with the best of intentions. Nevertheless, I emerged – wounded, scarred, but alive. Perhaps the trials I faced changed me. The cynical side of me has become more apparent – though not brutally so – and I now view the world with a pair of cautious eyes. Yet, I view this change as necessary, rather than distasteful. After all, for every bit of goodness the world has to offer, there is darkness and evil present in equal measure.

I’ve been disappointed at some points, that’s for sure. My final year in college definitely had its highs and lows. The same, unfortunately, can be said of my academics – though I worked hard to make up for any deficiencies. I was hurt by those whom I believed would always be a part of my life, and surprised by many whom I thought never would. The biggest lesson of 2017, for me at least, would have to be this – to not let expectations get in the way of affection. Over the years, I’ve lost many friends because I demanded equal remuneration for my efforts. I was never content, and it cost me dearly. Though it’s easier said than done, we all have to accept that we can’t always be someone’s priority just because they’re ours. I’ve learnt to love generously, even if what I give isn’t proportional to what I get in return.

Towards the end of 2017, a single notion possessed my waking mind – the need to find purpose in my life. The end of my college journey might have brought with it much-needed respite, but the absence of a goal to work towards weighed heavily on me. I would wake up at the crack of dawn, ready to face the world, only to crumble at the thought of a meaningless day ahead. To make a long story short, I started to assign daily goals for myself, manageable tasks that, upon completion, offered a semblance of achievement. Yet, I’d always bear in mind that such arrangements should only be temporary – after all, we’re made for greater things. But what if, inevitably, there comes a day when we’re forced to face the big questions? Who are we really? What are we here for? Where are we heading? The truth is, we don’t, and might never, know.

Until we do.