You’ll still be happy

by Monim Wains

How do people become… great?

What do you mean?

Someone special, y’know? Someone who’s made a difference to the world.


No, not necessarily. I just… I want to do something different, worthwhile.

Like what?

… I don’t really know. I don’t think it matters even, as long as it makes a difference–
I just don’t want to be normal. I want to do something big.

Well, there’s nothing wrong with being normal.

I know, I know – that’s not what I mean, though.
I mean all the people you hear about. They invent stuff, or run countries, or like, they died a hundred years ago but we still know about them.
Those people.

Oh, right. I see. That’s not so easy.

Yeah, but I want to be that. I want to leave something behind, you know? And not just… vanish.

Hmm… I get you.
That’s tough though. You have to be lucky, I guess. You can’t just be great.

Well there has to be something. I have to try to do that at least; it won’t happen if I don’t.

Yeah, but you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. Look how far you’ve gotten already. You’re here, aren’t you?

Yeah … but still, being here doesn’t mean I’ve done it. It’s like – a start, maybe – or like… doing well so far. But it doesn’t mean anything, really.

Do you really mean that?

No, like, I know it’s good–

It’s amazing! You worked so hard to get here and all you’re gonna–

No, no, that’s not what I meant. I know I’ve done well.
I know I’m really lucky and that I worked really hard and there’d be so many people who’d be happy–
And I’m happy too … like …
I know it’s good, but I just don’t want this to be… it.
I want to do more.

More? How so?

I just, I guess it’s the people you hear about. All these incredible people who did something great with their lives. Like they wrote something that changed what people thought, or discovered something that saved lives–
They seem so amazing, and it just feels like if they can do that, then I should too.
I should go for the kind of thing that made them great; make a difference.
What’s the point if I don’t?

What’s the point of what? Life?

Yeah … kind of. I just – what’s the point if I just die and nothing’s changed? Why does it matter that I did anything?

That’s not true; you won’t just disappear. Everyone you know’s going to notice.

Yeah, they will, but I mean not just those people. They just happen to know me because I met them – I just happened to see them. But I mean I want to make a difference that wasn’t just me being around.

Hmm… I see.

I don’t want to be like just another person, you know? It feels like it wouldn’t be good enough.

Being normal is fine, it’s normal.

Yeah, I know, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But I just wonder… what happened to them? They all had dreams, right? When they were young. What happened to them? Did they… just give up?–
I know there’s nothing wrong with it, I’m not saying they’re bad, but it’s just,
I feel like for me, I want to do more than that. I really want to make something with my life, you know?

Hmm … I see.

I don’t think they gave up.


People; I don’t think they gave up; what if they just changed?

But how? How can they just stop like that? They’re just …

Would you find it difficult? 

D’you think you’d be unhappy?

Well, not unhappy.
But I wouldn’t be satisfied, if that makes sense; like I hadn’t done enough.

Hm… I think I know what you mean.
I was like that too, I think.

You were?
What happened?

Well, I think I realised what it was.
In a way, it’s difficult to say, but it’s– it’s all about being worth it, right? Mattering.

Yeah, exactly.

And it feels like if you don’t do something great, if you don’t make some big difference, then it’s not worth it; you didn’t do well.

Yeah, right, that’s what I mean.

But when you think about it, isn’t everyone like that?

Everyone around you, all the people you were talking about, they’re still happy.
And they didn’t just give up, or … fail, or something.
They just realised it doesn’t matter.

… But how? Everyone has ideas, dreams they want to do–

Yeah, exactly. Everyone does, but not when they’re older.
When they’re older – hah, wiser I guess; most of them haven’t done anything extraordinary.
They’re normal, and they’re okay with it.

Yeah, I know – I mean, I know that’s okay. They’re fine, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But there’s nothing wrong with doing more, right? And if I can do more, then I should. It’s better.

Maybe… when that’s how you put it.
But I don’t think that’s how it is.
It’s not just deciding to be great; I think it changes.

Changes? How so?

Well, if people really didn’t achieve what they wanted, they wouldn’t be happy – would they? They’d all feel bad, and, like you said, like they didn’t matter.
But they aren’t like that. It has to be something that changed–
And not, like, changed where they gave up, but changed like they … like they learned something.

Learned something? Like what?

… I don’t know. Not yet. But I think I will – I think we will.
You always get young people who do all the crazy stuff, who want to change the world–
And that’s good, it’s good to do that. But there has to be something that changes then.
When people really figure out what they want, what they really actually care about.
It’s like they realise what they wanted isn’t actually… it – it’s not actually that great.
And they haven’t given up, but they’ve just realised… they can be happy.

… I guess. But still, I want to try – I don’t want to just not do it. It would still be good to do that, you know? really make a difference too.

Yeah, of course. And that’s good, you should still go for that.
But you don’t have to, you know.
And if it doesn’t work out, it’s still alright.

Well, it’s difficult. I don’t know if I’d like that, if it doesn’t go that well – if I don’t ‘make it’–
Haha, with the stuff I’m doing, I’ll just get a turtleneck and work in a coffee shop!

You’ll still be happy.

The Poor Print

Established in 2013, The Poor Print is the student-run newspaper of Oriel College, Oxford. Written by members of the JCR, MCR, SCR and staff, new issues are published fortnightly during term. Our current Executive Editors are Siddiq Islam and Jerric Chong.

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