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  • Writer's pictureJeslyn Chng

I Am the Captain of My Own Ship

One could imagine the vast, mysterious ocean as a life full of possibilities; the shore at the horizon as one’s final goal, the incessant rolling of waves as the ups-and-downs of life and course of the ship one sails as the result of one’s decisions in life. To be the captain of one’s own ship is to be in charge and take full responsibility and ownership of the decisions one makes. Whether a ship sinks or sails depends strongly on the maturity, professionalism and competency of its captain – in this case, us – who are all captains of the ship we own. I strongly believe that teenagers nowadays should adopt the mindset of “I am the captain of my ship”.

Being in charge of our own life gives us life. The decisions we make, the actions we take and the words we speak define who we are and shape our identity. Only when we are given the freedom and rights to make our own choices will we be able to fully express ourselves and our individuality. Creativity can flourish and imagination will blossom. Each person will live a life unique to himself. Instead of being cocooned by the cages of societal expectations, when we take charge of our lives, we choose the path that is best suited for ourselves, instead of making decisions merely to fulfil others’ expectations. For example, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, went against societal norms to become a university drop-out, starting his entrepreneurship in the technological field and later rose to fame with his world-renowned online creation. This goes to show that there is no one-size-fits-all way of life that suits everyone. Therefore, we should be the ones deciding what is best for ourselves, hence stretching our abilities and growing our potential to the fullest. Only when we make decisions ourselves would life be meaningful, just like Thomas Edison famously said, “If you told a fish to climb a tree, it would live its whole life thinking it were stupid.”

Being responsible of ourselves gives life dignity. When we make decisions by ourselves, we have ourselves to thank if the right choice is made and are devoid of the excuse to blame others for an unbeneficial decision. Taking ownership molds us into better versions of ourselves that are forward-thinking, trustworthy, and more mature. We are not restricted by the confining bars of helicopter parenting as we shoulder the responsibility to make informed and sensible decisions for ourselves. Sadly, the current Strawberry generation is well-known for its parents being overly-protective hawks that hover all around their children, slashing at any potential threat. Therefore, it is tough for children of the Strawberry generation to rise up to the challenges in life and to conquer them, as these children are locked away from the opportunities to test themselves and their capabilities, thereby rendering them defenseless against the tiniest of turbulences when their parent-hawks are no longer by their side. It is only when we fully embrace the responsibility of making our own decisions will we be proud of the choices we make and the person we become, therefore living a dignified life.

However, some people may say that teenagers nowadays are too reckless or immature to make sound decisions for themselves and hence should be given restricted ownership over their own lives. While it may be true that teenagers are more hot-headed, this is part and parcel of life. By making wrong decisions, we stumble, trip, and fall. Yet, failure is the mother of success. Teenagers will learn, as they grow, to make the right choices, hence picking themselves up and climbing back on track again. Being weathered and bruised but experienced and knowledgeable is always better than being protected and mollified but ignorant and inexperienced. This is akin to wild animals having an edge over pet animals at surviving the harsh conditions of the wild. By taking responsibility for ourselves, we unlock the door towards learning and growing, hence becoming better versions of ourselves in the future. After all, all waves pass, no matter how high.

As we sail through life’s many obstacles, we must never lose sight of our ownership of life. We live life not for others, but for the sake of ourselves. On board a ship, there may be a crew of sailors and shipmates, but the ship relies solely on one captain to steer it, whether to shore or into a storm. Similarly, in life, we may receive feedback, opinions and suggestions from those around us, but at the end of the day, it boils down to how we utilise their help to make better choices in life. We should stand firm with what we believe in, trust in our own potential and be brave in shouldering the responsibility of taking ownership of life. After all, we are all rightful captains of our own ship.


Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash

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