Arts & Culture The Youth Issue

Of the pressures to be young and successful

Confessions of a young Saudi woman.

. ??????? ???????? ?????? ???

By Layan Dajani

Being a young person in the Gulf Region today is… a lot. Everything is happening so fast. A profuse amount of decisions and changes are being made daily for us that we have to adapt to, and although those changes are mostly for our benefit, they are only making our lives harder. How we think has changed, and the expectations that are being thrown at us —young people of the Gulf —have become suffocating.

I have lost the connection with myself for the sake of keeping up with today’s fast-paced lifestyle, and to meet just a fraction of the expectations that are put on me every day. I have to go out more and socialize or else I would be considered a “loser”. I should be married at a certain age with a certain number of children and own a business.

The problem is that each individual has a goal in mind to achieve, and the goals vary from one person to another, and these expectations force us to think and behave in a certain way without truly doing what we want.

I am not able to be who I truly want to be because who I truly want to be does not match with what other people expect from me. I want to be able to choose freely, and I want there to be a space for me to try and fail, to experience new things without there being a time limit, and without the pressure that I should make the right decision every time. I feel that I am stuck living this life full of lies in order to be a “successful young person”.

I stopped giving myself any free time to do the activities that I truly love because I must always be productive and make money otherwise I am a disappointment. Every achievement I make isn’t really an achievement, because another young person has started their own business and I am still dependent on my parents to feed me and buy me things. Nothing I do is enough, because the world is evolving rapidly and people around me are only demanding more. I am drifting through this life unconsciously, unaware of my surroundings, and untrue to my identity, just to meet the expectations that are constantly thrown at me.  

I’m simply lost.

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.

Layan Dajani is an 18-year-old filmmaking student living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She has always been interested in all forms of art including painting, drawing and photography.