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What is it like to be a Sri Lankan……in most cases!

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Okay so before you get your panties up in a bunch, I have mentioned “in most cases” in the heading. Which means that there can be cases that this does not apply to you. Alright since we are over that, let’s get to the topic at hand, shall we?

What is it actually like to be a Sri Lankan? When we were kids, we were told that we should study hard and pursue one of three occupations; Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer. If you tell me that your parents haven’t told you this at least once in your life, your nose will grow. So, we go off to school, work our asses off and try to be good students, get good grades cause if you don’t then you are considered to be a failure. I mean it does NOT matter if you are a damn good artist, musician, sportsman, or a mechanic for that matter. If you don’t have good marks for Maths & Science…oof! Tough luck buddy. I mean I won’t go in to the details of the Sri Lankan “Education System” because obviously its broken & out dated in every possible way.

After that you are suppose to go to university, get a degree, get a job, get married (settle down), have kids and work your ass off until you die. That’s how a typical Sri Lankan should live out their life to be socially acceptable. Sounds fun right? Oh oh! If you’re a girl then you are not supposed to work, if you are working then you are supposed to quit the job after having kids. Amazing, isn’t it?

I will not get into the statistics of divorces, suicides & etc because for a fact those numbers are bogus.

For the last few years, something I’ve heard a lot is that “We need to change the system”. But I have not seen a single step being taken in order to change anything I listed above. Well, that could predominantly be due to the fact that we have people over the age of 50 running this country instead of retiring but that is whole different story to talk about later.

I, personally think that this system or this way of life should change. We need to change with the world and we need to allow people to express themselves. Why? Because I have worked with people who have first class degrees in recognized universities that doesn’t know how to make a slide. It’s not their fault, it’s the system that has failed them. We are so focused on following the rules and getting the correct grades, nobody is thinking about being creative. Also, this is not JUST about the education system.

How many of you know people who wants to quit their job and pursue their dreams but can’t?

How many of you know people who have been judged by people for having tattoos? Colored hair? Clothes they wear?

How many of you know people who are looked down by the society because of their sexuality?

How many of you know people who are being slut shamed for being open about their sexuality?

How many of you know people who are married and carrying on miserably just for the sake of their kids?

How many of you know people who are having or on the verge of a mental breakdown because of stress?

I could go on with these questions but I assume you are starting understand the pattern here.

At this point, you might be wondering what is the point of this article or blog or whatever you want to call this. Well, the point is, “Change starts with you, but it doesn’t start until you do”. I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who wants to see these changes in our society.

So, go out there and start having these conversations. With your parents, your friends, your partners, your coworkers. Check on them, appreciate them, encourage them, have the tough conversations. Also, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily owe anything to anyone. Not even your parents, I know it sounds very controversial but you don’t. You never asked to be born, you never asked for a particular religion, you never asked to be in a particular race. I’m not saying you should completely abandon your parents, just stand your ground when necessary. Your individuality comes when you can make decisions for yourself, not when you keep listening to the decisions others make for you.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, then go ahead and do it. Take that risk because you don’t know if it’s going to work out until you try it. None of us really know how long we’ve got left in our lives, so take the chances and live your life. Nobody will care about the project you completed a week prior to the deadline or that sales target you overachieved when you are old and grey. So, make memories, take risks, take that leap of faith. Remember that doing things on your own, building a life on your own is completely fine. You don’t necessarily have to have a partner, if it’s not for you then it’s not for you.

Also, be nice to people. It will cost you absolutely nothing to be nice to people. Encourage people to be themselves, motivate people to be creative, lend a helping hand, learn from everyone because life stories from real people in real life would teach you so much more about life than anything else and most importantly, pass on the things you learned about life to the next generations. Don’t force it on them and force them to live just like you, make the information available so that they can learn from it and create their own stories.

Start the change with our generation. Because the world is not the same place it was 20-30 years ago. A lot has changed and we don’t have to live in the past. I’m not saying we should become a western country, if that’s what you are thinking. But we can change our ways for the better with our own identity. Because I think before we think about changing how the rest of the world think of us, we have to change how we think.

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