The Crucible

To begin, I’d like to set the tone by paraphrasing a story that earned the Norse god Odin the title “lord of the gallows”. In Norse mythology there is an important tree known as Yggdrasil. Around it you can find the 9 different worlds that exist (some of which you may know from the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as Asgard and Midgard). Odin, who is essentially king of the gods, looks down from Asgard to the roots of Yggdrasil where he sees 3 beings, known as the Norns, tending to the tree. The Norns are these deities that not only care for the tree but also shape the fate of mankind primarily by carving runes into the roots of the tree which carry their intentions up the tree and into the land of men. Odin then desired the knowledge of the runes for himself, but they only revealed themselves to those who were worthy. So, to prove his worthiness, he threw himself on his spear and hung on Yggdrasil for 9 days and 9 nights. After this ordeal, the runes revealed themselves to him and he gained immense knowledge and power.

With that story in mind, allow me to diverge from the mythology and speak about myself. At a point, my first year in university was the hardest year of my life. I had more responsibility than I’ve ever had before and for the first time, my future was in my hands. Long story short, I worked through it and made my way to the new hardest year of my life, the year I did my Honours. Now I wouldn’t exactly call myself an alpha male, but I do often run with the somewhat toxic trait that is “Men don’t cry”. It’s a bit amusing how quickly a lack of sleep, stress, crazy deadlines, fear of wasting a crazy amount of money and the start of a pandemic can change your ideologies because there I was, crying my eyes out at 3 in the morning because of assignments. Fast forward through the hard work, and at the end of the year I had a post-Grad degree as well as a signed contract to work at Retro Rabbit. I was overjoyed, my hard work had paid off.

As an employee taken on in the grad programme, I had two projects that I had to do. The first was a group project for a company in the construction world and the second was my own personal project that Retro had assigned to me, which I had to work on in my own time. Regarding my personal life, I had just moved out of my parents’ house, I didn’t know how long I would be staying on my own and even worse, I didn’t have Wi-Fi yet. Now if you did not know, (No Wi-Fi) + (Trying to build an application in a coding language that’s completely new to you while trying to impress) = (Staying at work late and using that Wi-Fi). This simple equation doesn’t really account for wear and tear, but it was a useful tool when I needed it. Once again, fast forward through the hard work and I am currently doing a job that I completely love (and sometimes hate at the same time).

Now you may be asking “What on earth does this long-winded rant of nothingness have to do with a Crucible”. A crucible is essentially a large melting pot. In it you would place certain materials, expose them to extreme heat and melt them down for specific uses. When the material is melted, often what you have to do is scoop out the impurities that rise to the top of the crucible and in that lies my metaphor for life. Life is this giant melting pot, struggles and stress are the high temperatures that gets applied to us. We are the materials that are melted down for different uses. Something that a lot of people don’t realise, is that over the span of an average life, if you sum up all the time spent learning and it amounts to lets say 10 years, 10 years is only about 15% of that lifespan. Making a sacrifice of about 15% of your total time on Earth spread across your entire life to make yourself better seems like a no brainer. Drink more coffee and embrace the chaos.

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Gabriel Mahomed