Ever since I successfully managed to endure four years of university torture, I’ve had the very same question flung my way…
Honestly, this question annoys me. For so many reasons. I don’t mean the people who ask me are annoying per se, but the question annoys me because of personal reasons. I know they mean well. They probably have a “Congratulations!” dancing on their tongue, waiting for me to give them some kinda good news.
“I’m working for [Insert prestigious organisation here] and I’m a [Insert prestigious position here]. I get [Insert a great salary + job’s great benefits here] and I’m happy! Life is GREAT!” Maybe throw in, “I’m getting married in [Insert month here]!” for extra seasoning.
I have, on a couple occasions, just laughed instead of answering the question. Recently, I stared blankly at the individual who asked me the unpopular question. My mind trailed off.
“I’m staying at home, doing chores and spending so many hours I’m ashamed of admitting on social media. I sometimes take stupid quizzes like “design your house and we’ll tell you when you’ll die”. I am struggling with my health; I collapse sometimes, especially when I’m stressed, which is usually caused by overthinking and my very unhealthy habit of not eating and/or sleeping enough. Sometimes I find vacancies that I tell myself I will apply for, and lose interest in the job when I’m about to apply so they just end up as starred messages on my WhatsApp, or in my email draft folder. I have managed to break my habit of nail biting, but I subconsciously bite them when I’m deep in thought once in a while.”
Then I remembered that I had to use my brain to come up with an answer instead…
“Palibe. Ndikungogona kunyumba. Ndikupuma kaye,” I said quickly, then let out a laugh.
“Oh ok. Ayi zipumani,” they said.
I should have probably come up with a better reply. But oh well.
Honestly, I don’t know where my life is heading. I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a year, where I’ll be or who will be around me. I don’t even know about next week. Heck! I don’t even know about tomorrow. When you’re living in your parent’s home without much happening in your life, you remember that you are sapuni. You wake up with plans… well, not very important plans… maybe I’ll tidy my room. Or I’ll go collect ka jacket ndinapeza pa kaunjika kaja koma kokula mmikonomu kwa a tailor in town… or I’ll try to edit my CV this time and actually apply for that research assistant job… those type of plans, but plans all the same… Then mum wakes up and just says, “ndikufuna upite mtown: upite ku chigayo. Kenako ukagule anyezi, tomato, bread…” and before you know it, you have a list of things to do in town. This is when you realise that the driving lessons they paid for you were so they could easily send you in town, not necessarily that their daughter should have driving skills.
My mum’s sending-you-to-town trips interest me. Her list is usually short. But you can spend over 2 hours in this very small town of Zomba. When you’re in town, she will call you and tell you she forgot something else. Then she will call again when you’re almost done and you have to go back to square one. By the time you’re getting home, you feel tired and hungry. But at least you had a had the chance to check if the tailor adjusted your jacket yapa kaunjika yokula mmikono (no, he didn’t. he said I should go mawa. He will DEFINITELY have it ready then. He said the same dzana).
Another thing unemployment has done to me is it has made me care less (mind the gap) about my appearance. Back in college, I would never go on campus with unkempt hair, shabby clothes that don’t match. Now, I wear the first t-shirt I see and I’m okay with wearing masilipasi. This morning, mummy sent me to town. It was her usual short list. But she told me to hurry because “tomato akufunika lunch yomweyino”. This was somewhere around twenty to twelve. So I just wore what I could and rushed outside (yes, nnali nsanasambe. Nndadzuka mochedwa). As I was about to get into the car, she asked me, “Upita mmutumo muli choncho?” I had African threaded my hair the night before. The opportunity cost of unbraiding it for just about an hour’s time in town was too high. I was going kumsika anyway.
Lol. Guys. I would have been ashamed before. But I laughed. I laughed hard.
“Mum, it’s just Zomba Town. I’ll be back beforeyou know it!”
Poor mum. She just looked at me, shook her head and probably muttered to herself, “Koma mwana uyu nde akhwatchitsatu.”
Which brings me to the next question I get asked these days.
“Have you found ‘someone’ yet?”
Respectful people say, “Mukupephelela aBrother koma?”
“Munamaliza school’tu, nde mukudikila chani?”
Eeeeh. This topic.
You know, when you’re far, you look at a watch and admire its beauty. You look at those hands moving around in complete harmony and it’s just beautiful. But then when you open the back side of the watch, and you come close, you will see that there’s SO MUCH going on. It’s actually more complex than you initially thought.
Yes, that’s what marriage is like to me now. From afar, beautiful! We wrote “goals” under pictures of couples with matching clothes. Those beautiful photos of families looking happy made it all look rosy. I kept pushing the thought of marriage away, like, let me finish undergrad first. Now I’m close and I see how complex everything is. Marriage is WORK! Finding and being the right partner is also not that simple. It’s not just some pretty photo and great caption, or a big colourful wedding. It’s a lifetime commitment to someone you will have to stand for the rest of your lives. And honestly, it scares me! (It scares a lot of us, I’m just brave enough to admit it). Then someone comes along and adds the pressure by asking “tivina liti?”
Anyway, my life currently has been interesting, but I’m loving it. Despite all the uncertainties, I appreciate the fact that I am in my parents’ home and there isn’t too much pressure to move out or get a job. I want a job I am satisfied with. I want to do things I am actually happy with. I know a lot of people say you have to throw your CV everywhere. My reply is always the same: I do not like to have my CV all over town in the name of trying my luck. I know what a long shot it is, but I do not want to settle and work in a sector I have zero interest in and be stuck in some boring cycle.
A friend gave me this piece of advice that has helped me so much. She said, “You are in your own time zone. Don’t you dare get tempted to look at what your friends are accomplishing and start to look down on yourself. It’s not a race.” That gave me so much peace. When a classmate asked me for advice on what to do because he got offered two jobs at once, I was tempted to look down on myself and say to him, “really? You call that a problem? Not knowing which job to pick? I can’t even get an interview!” But I stopped myself. I got happy for him. I helped him make a decision. That is all. Different time zones.
Finishing university was a great feeling. I loved it! My graduation was even more exciting. Chancellor college wasn’t easy, friends. And despite my unemployed state, I thank God and celebrate it every day. No one, and I mean no one, can ever take that away from me: I got a degree. I worked for it. And I am so darn proud of me, so should a lot of us unemployed graduates. There’s an achievement we should never forget or underrate. Yes, we can be more, and we will be, but let’s also count our blessings.
There are so many long term goals that I have, and most of them do not even involve working a 7-5 job. I have never lost sight of those goals. Sometimes I feel like just another dreamer, but I know I will get there. When it comes to marriage, I have learnt to lay all my burdens down at Jesus’ feet. He knows my tomorrow better than I do. He also knows what makes me anxious. I get comforted knowing the one who knows my tomorrow is the one who is guiding me. I also find comfort in knowing I am operating in my time zone-things will happen when it is the right time, that is all. I know we have all heard that same message before and it starts to sound corny, but believe me, you will look back at all this one day and agree with me- IT WILL HAPPEN AT THE APPOINTED TIME.
An unemployed graduate
– The pain from every setback is just the feeling of your wings taking form.
– Now, Jesus said, in the Word. Jesus said, “If you ask the Father anything in My Name I’ll do it.” But sometimes, when God performs something and does something that we ask for, yet we don’t…It comes in an unexpected way, and sometimes in an unexpected place, and at an unexpected time. But God will answer in His Own way, if you’ll just believe it. See? See? You must believe it, accept it, and then don’t take it back. Hold onto it. Lay hold of it, and say, “This is it. God said it. That settles it. If God said so, that’s finished, no matter how long.” There might not have been one molecule come into existence when He said, “Let there be” for a world. But, He, He is Eternal. And after while, become molecules and atoms. And it come up, because He said it to be that way.
62-0120 – The Unchangeable God Working In An Unexpectable Way, Rev. William Marrion Branham