A couple of days back, I walking from a class in school and while being left hanging from fist bumps by little schoolchildren, it suddenly hit me that by the time these kids grow up to be old enough to be considered a fellow adult (whoa, I’m an adult??), they’d have turned into completely different people from how they are right now, and that gave me a vertigo-like sensation for a moment. Terasa gayat tiba-tiba.
It’s crazy to think that we were once that age too, with similar views of the world, similar naivety, similar mudah-terhibur-ness and similar curiosity about the world around them. By the time I reached the ripe age of 18, I’d already built a somewhat concrete view of the world and applied it to myself. Luckily, I was able to break that view and reshape the way I saw the world by the time I was 19, and again when I was 20, and again when I was 21, and so on and so forth.
I’m 25 now, and thinking back to 9 year-old Anwar, the kid who had no friends at school, who struggled to even talk to anybody else because he was in Alor Setar, Kedah and the only Malay he could speak was Kelantanese, who spent most of his time envying those kids that were playing galah panjang (or as Northeners call it: toi) during recess while he ate his packed lunch all by himself, who always wished that he had one of those pullable backpacks with the wheels, who was ashamed of the Noor in his name because it was a girl’s name, it seems almost impossible that things turned out the way they did and formed the person typing on this laptop right now.
And upon reflection, this is true for the 9 year-olds in school right now. They might seem a certain way today, but give them 15 years to grow, and grow they shall. One hopes that they’ll have life-changing experiences (more than once, hopefully), fall in love, have their heart broken, learn the meaning of true friendship, find God in their lives, and it is the wish of this teacher and a lot of others too that they fulfil their potential. One prays that they find their passions and chase their dreams and never give up, because life is about making decisions and trying and failing and failing and failing until you finally succeed. Life isn’t easy, but easy things are for the weak, and they aren’t weak. Far from it. They are God-blessed with strength and tenacity, and if they could tap into that, God-willing, they’ll become great.
But for now, they’re just kids. 9 year-old kids with 9 year-old thoughts and 9 year-old concerns. And it’s so beautiful to be able to witness.