This Is What It Means To Be ‘Okay’


A couple of days ago, amidst our usual chats, a friend randomly threw a question to me. It was simple, straight to the point, but I was stunned for a moment.

“Have you been okay?”

It’s fascinating how facades can be seen through so easily by some, yet carelessly overlooked by others. When posed that question, the first thoughts that ran through my mind were Don’t I seem alright? Were there cues hinting otherwise? Why’d you even ask that?

“Okay, what does okay even mean? What does being okay entail?”

It means being okay both physically and mentally. It doesn’t mean that things have to be smooth sailing – that’s unrealistic. It’s about being able to handle circumstances that arrive without being beaten down or broken by them. Sure, there have been and there will be instances where you choose the route of avoidance (I’m no less guilty of that). But perhaps avoidance is merely a temporary escapism, to get your mind sorted out.

“I’m lost in life, frustrated at the overwhelmingness of things. And I’m afraid of decisions I’ve been making and have to make.” But who’s to dictate what’s “right” and what’s not? This is all part and parcel of growing up. Yeah you might make decisions that are unwise, but such is life. If you never ever make mistakes, you’ll never learn, will you?

What’s important is that after making informed decisions and yet realizing there are better alternatives, what would you do? Are you going to let yourself be stuck deep in the abyss and wallow in self-pity of unhappiness and wrong moves? Then that’s not okay. “It’s terrifying, this whole process of growing up.” Whoever said it wouldn’t be anyway?

Life’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Appreciate and be thankful for the happy moments. Be humble and learn from the darkest times in your life, because if you’re able to walk out of those times – be it independently or with the help of others – you’ll emerge as someone way stronger than you were previously. And that, to me, is admirable. And perhaps after all these years, all I crave is to be able to say: I’m okay, I’m okay, I am okay.