Twelve years. In three months, I will have passed through twelve years of school. Through all of these years, I will have taken hundreds of tests, hundreds of quizzes, filled out thousands of notebook pages, read hundreds of books, taken several exams, and so much more.
And, through all of those twelve years, I somehow avoided ever feeling the true, full-on weight of everything I had done. But now, with just three months to go, it is as if all of that weight is now crashing onto me, forcing the air of effort out of my lungs.
I can feel the persistent grind which for so long as stuck with me slowly slip between my fingers, falling into oblivion while I do my best to keep a grip on at least some of my efforts. And with the acknowledgment of this, a question arose in my mind.
Have I reached my wicks end—is the candle which represents my hard work finally burning out?
The surface answer to this would be yes. I am finally tired of always working hard and putting my entire effort into succeeding in my education.
However, is the surface answer the same as the answer which lies in the depths, far below the surface?
Perhaps not. Perhaps the true answer is that my candle is simply flickering—it is fighting to keep its flame ignited. Perhaps I am not even near my wicks end, rather just facing a series of adversity meant to push me forward towards a larger goal.
So, how am I supposed to know if I really have reached the wicks end? How am I supposed to gauge whether or not my candle is ready to burn out?
The truth to all of this, at least in my eyes, is that there is a possibility that our candles never do burn out—perhaps our wicks are never-ending. We are taught to push through adversity, to use the moments which push us to our very limits to make us strong; so, if we are constantly pushing through our weakest moments, maybe there really is no end waiting to burn out.
If you would’ve asked me before I started writing this, I would have told you that everyone has their own wicks end, their own points of breaking down—of officially burning out. However, as I began thinking about it more, I realized the moments of weakness and breakage we face all conclude with a recovery—a reignition of our flames.
So, rather than there existing a wicks end in our lives, I would say there exists a flicker—a stage of falling, fighting to stay strong—to stay lit—a moment which could be our wicks end if we didn’t fight to get through it. But we do. We are taught to push through the difficulties in our lives, push through the moments where we feel like giving up, and gain strength again.
So maybe reaching our wicks end is just a common illusion, and is something we don’t reach until we encounter the moment where we will burn out forever, the moment where we have finally burnt through every single centimeter of our candle. Maybe our candles burn until we take our very last breath.
The truth is, we all face these moments where we feel like we are tracing the very edge of our limits, the very border of our sanity. We all have the times where we feel like we have given everything we possibly could, and are now burned out. But, we always end up reviving ourselves—whether it’s a regain of strength, motivation, effort, etc, we find what we need to keep us going.
So, although I have years of hard work all seeming to pile up right now, I realize I am not at my wicks end. I am at a moment of flickering, a moment where I feel like I could very well burn out, but I won’t.
And neither will you.