The shortest path is a circle
The shortest path is a circle – by Lindani Mchunu
The universe is clear. The circle is a sanctified shape. The elliptical movement of heavenly bodies, the elliptical shape of things is telling us something indeed. Everything seems to be round. So it seems the course of our lives follows the same procession. My 16 month old daughter has the same posture and mannerisms as my 93 year old grandmother. When we are young, we resemble our old age and when we are old, we are like toddlers.
My daughter is as stubborn as my grandmother, my grandmother is as determined as my daughter. I am however stuck in the middle. I am a man child. Too young to claim the mantle of wisdom and too old to fain ignorance. I went to CPUT Granger bay last week for my annual Orientation Day presentation to the new students. I normally talk about sailing, the yacht club and the yachting industry as a whole. I am always pleased to see the wonder and awe in the student’s eyes, to be introduced to something completely new and the opportunity laid bare before them, to venture into the unknown. What I love about my daughter is that for her, everything is a possibility, in her mind nothing ventured nothing gained is a palpable reality. Everyday she’s pushing her boundaries. I am always chasing after her, to protect her from danger that she is not aware of, as she explores her environment. I envy her. Her curiosity over powers her fears.
My grandmother on the other hand is jaded and disillusioned by life, everything seems the same to her and anytime any of her grandchildren speak of new things her reply is always the same “we will see my child, we will see”. Every time I find myself standing in front of young people, who are about to take on the world. I remember my daughter’s enthusiasm and curiosity, I remember her bravery which is solely based on ignorance and lack of awareness of danger. My daughter has not failed, she has no reason to doubt herself, she has not been heartbroken she has no reason to not trust love. Her disappointments thus far are superficial at best. My daughters circle is still perfect. My grandmother’s circle was an undulating journey of broken links and severed ties. Her circle is held together by resilience and sheer perseverance. My grandmother’s circle is a fragile structure, with chips, cracks and makeshift parts held together by glue. If I could give one thing to all the young kids that sit in front of me, as I give my talks at CPUT, I would give them resilience and perseverance with a splash of curiosity and sense of wonder. If I could tell them one thing to remember for all time, it would be “Burn like the Sun, burn with intensity and purpose, burn until you become a Super Nova and explode across the Universe”.
Our circle will not be a perfect one, but what will hold it together is our sheer resilience and perseverance. What will fill the empty space in between, will be our bravery and curiosity.