I had been on familiar ground for a very long time. For many years I always felt quite comfortable with my working environment. It was my home ground and I felt very much protected and secure in carrying out my daily activities. The work scope and the challenges varied and changed over time, but I always felt I could manage it. And I did. And eventually I ended up feeling very comfortable, too comfortable it scared me. I was afraid I would become complacent, and I felt I needed a new challenge to stimulate my appetite for success.
Well, I got just what I asked for....... and more. I’m now officially a full time student. It’s been more than 15 years since I completed my degree and going back to learning environment requires some significant adjustment on my part. And the subject of International Relations is very alien to me; realism, pluralism, constructivist, differences between neutral and non-alignment, state and actors, contemporary strategies....oh my. Migration from engineering/logistics to IR......my head has been spinning just from the thought of it. The lecturers are mostly prominent figures in IR world. I just recently discovered that one of them was cited numerous times in a few old books from my undergraduate studies. I was mesmerised just being in their presence. And how about my classmates, everybody but one is at least a few years older than me. One of them even has two grandchildren and has just recently held a wedding reception for his youngest daughter. Some are just a few years away from retirement.....and I’m still about 15 years till mine.....wow!!! I didn’t feel there was any room for me to share about the headache of trying to enrol my kids in Year 1 of primary school. These guys are well beyond that already. How about their working experience or academic qualification then? Most have commanded big organisations, be it a battalion or a ship or an aircraft squadron, and have regular interactions with the top brass of their respective services. Some already have masters in other fields and one I know has been pursuing his Phd which he has to put on hold until the end of this programme. These are some bad-ass individuals, some in the true sense of the word due to the nature of their job in dealing with the unthinkable.
I was intimidated to say the least. I had trouble breathing......literally!!! I felt very small in the midst of this whole new environment. I was inferior, in every aspect it seemed....The whole week had me struggling to comprehend the predicament I got myself into. It felt impossible to come out on top. I never felt such anxiety before. One whole week of feeling like this and I knew I could not let this go on. What would you do?? What would you do when faced with such obstacles.....???
It’s almost the end of the second week, and I can confess that I’m feeling much better now. I am okay. I feel confident, not of the outcome as it is ultimately in the hand of God, but of my perseverance and will to complete this. A complete turn-around from last week. Why and How? The demons of fright, anxiety and intimidation are gone. I got rid of them. I know there are going to be some major obstacles coming my way. I know I may not have the upper hand in many situations. I am at a disadvantage in many ways. I accept.
But then, I do have some of my own strengths, some of which I feel will propel me to comprehend the challenges ahead. I have accomplished some incredible feats in my life, and I wouldn’t have done so if not for my own strong points. I have come to accept the card I got dealt with. I asked for it in the first place. This is God’s plan for me. I just have to give my best and leave the rest to Him. And slowly I feel much more peaceful. I begin to see situations where I actually have the upper hand, I begin to see the positive in even the most dreadful prospect, and I start to see that there is always something to be learned in every challenge. I begin to see that it’s all about accepting, maybe ‘redha’ is more suitable word to describe this. I am astonished at the speed of the transition and how good I feel now. It’s not false hope I’m sure. I know I still have mountains to climb. But I have accepted that this is the situation I’m in, this is what I asked for, it’s going to be hard, I’m going to struggle. I just have to try my best, exploit my strengths and just redha that whatever happens is not because of my lack of trying. Wasn't this what I’d been saying to myself before every time I encountered hardship in life? Yes indeed. It’s just that when the bar is raised higher, sometimes self-induced doubt creeps in without my realising it. Alhamdulillah I’m back on track and even more motivated and determined to give it my very best. I know some of my colleagues are facing their own demons right now. I hope they will eventually come to term and be able find the way to cope with the dreadful feelings.
I am glad I got this out of my chest. I praise God for making me realise quickly what I should have already known and accepted from the very beginning. This is what I will say to sum up this posting; just accept (redha with) your fate no matter how difficult and unfair it may seem, give your best to deal with it, ask for God’s intervention to grant the outcome you hope for...........and leave the rest to Him. InsyaAllah that’s what I intend to do and I hope He will give me strength and courage throughout. Amin.