My name is Nicholas Maalouf and I am 21 years old. When you turn 21 you are allowed to drive, drink, vote, and are thrown in jail if you commit a crime. What I am saying is obvious and a pretty well known fact but the topic that I wish to address goes beyond being allowed to drive, drink or vote. When you are given these rights it means that you have matured and are now a fully grown human being with the mental capacity to make the right choices. This means that you are now an adult!
Adulthood is the topic that I want to talk about in this blogpost but before we talk about adulthood and hit the heart of the issue let us go back in time. When we were still children, we were told what is right and what is wrong, told to follow our dreams, and told to do what we love. Everything was classified as black and white, good and bad, yin and yang. Despite all of that, there was nothing that could prepare us for the inevitability of adulthood.
During childhood you swim with the tide because it flows with you but when adulthood comes, you find yourself swimming against the tide. What you learned when you were a child; not to lie, not to steal, not to cheat, not to curse etc. suddenly go out the window because you realize that in order for you to do really well in this world you should forget what you learned when you were were little and start swimming with the new tide.
Adulthood thus becomes a struggle between your morality and your desire to do well in this world in every aspect of your personal life and what you used to see as black and white you now see as grey. What makes it difficult to swim against the tide and be rid of the feeling of doing a little bad for a greater good is the fact that you suddenly realize that your family will not be there to provide for you forever so you scramble and do whatever is possible to provide for yourself.
What I am currently talking about is expressed perfectly in a paragraph about Jesus in the Muslim Gospel written by Abu Uthman al-Jahiz which states “Jesus said to his disciples, “Man is created into this world in four stages, in three of which he feels secure and in the fourth of which he is ill-disposed and fears that God will forsake him. In the first stage, he is born in the darkness: the darkness of the belly, the darkness of the womb, and the darkness of the placenta. God provides for him in the darkness of the cavity of the belly. When he is brought out from the darkness of the belly, he falls upon milk which he does not advance toward on foot or leg, or obtain with his and or move strongly toward, but he is forced to it and rewarded with it until flesh and blood grows upon him. Weaned from milk, he falls upon the third stage: food provided by his parents, who earn it either lawfully or unlawfully. When his parents die, people take pity on him, one person feeding him, another giving him drink, another sheltering him, another clothing him. When he falls upon the fourth stage and has grown strong and erect and has become a man, he fears that he will not be provided for, so he attacks people, betrays their trust, robs their belongings, and carries away their wealth, fearing that God Almighty might forsake him.”
I have went through this experience to a certain extent and have had the fear of being broke and/or going hungry but I learned something the hard way! You don’t have to do really well, all you have to do is survive and that peace of mind is worth all of the money in this world! So whatever you do do not betray people’s trust, do not attack them, do not rob their belongings because one day you will find yourself complaining about what a horrible world you live in and suddenly realize that your actions, no matter how little, helped make the world what it is! What I am trying to say is keep on swimming against the tide for as long you can no matter how tiring it is, we all know people who managed to do it for their entire life, I have people in my family who managed to do so for their entire life, and I only hope that you and I will also be able to do so until the day we part with this world.
Nicholas Maalouf is a regional intern at the World Youth Alliance Middle East.