This will be a little difficult to write and I understand that. I mean I am literally pausing between every word trying to figure out how I will ever have the courage to publish this when it’s done. If I don’t have the courage to do it, will this still be worth writing?
Perhaps? So here I go.
I am at the stage in my life where its time for little birdie (me) to step out of the nest and build one for myself. By the standards of the Western world I have already overstayed my welcome. By Indian standards I will soon. But just as a bird needs twigs to construct their own home, humans must gather money (or so I am told).
As we grow up to the reality of growing up, we must develop a career. Skills worth selling for money. So we can have enough twigs for a nest that will weather any storm. This career business can be tricky as many of my fellow millennial would know.
First, there is the obsession with money that society instills in us , in the most secretive of ways. Growing up in an Indian community it was definitely true. Society measured success by bank balance. In the west it works a little differently. It’s about the fear of discomfort. If we don’t have enough dough and we lose our jobs how will we pay rent? If we have enough to pay rent, but not enough for fancy clothes how will we fit in at school /work? After all you must dress for the job you want not the one you have. Fear gets us saving money. Our billboards feed us with never ending wants that can only be fulfilled by amassing greater wealth. And we give into it. We eventually become a part of the business community that feeds off it.
While this obsession (money) pulls us in one direction, our hearts pull us in another. We want to do things that make us happy. Work takes up so much of our lives that having to do something we don’t love seems like the ticket to hell while doing something our heart desires gives meaning to life. And we know that. It’s a haunting feeling that stays with us all day. From the crack of dawn to the solitude of the night (which isn’t so solitary with the heart bothering you to follow it into never land) .
If doing what you love translates to easy money you are one of the lucky ones. However it may also mean that there aren’t any gold coins for us at the end of the rainbow.
Which leads to….
Two paths diverge in a yellow wood and we don’t know which one to pick.
To add to the complications, I find that I don’t want to be a singer anymore. Which means all that practice in the shower was for nothing. What I’m trying to say is that dreams we grew up with change. Constantly. As a student I wanted to work in HR, so that I could work with people and help them realize their potential. I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to do just that but I realized I couldn’t do it for the rest of my life. So off I went to get an MBA. My dreams had changed. While I’m currently in the middle of that investment, I fear I may eventually pick another path, change my mind again. What would I do then? How many times can I return to school? Start over again? Jeopardize my family’s income?
I let this fear take over my life in the past year and make me a very unhappy person. I figured the solution was that I wouldn’t allow myself to change my mind. That stability was more important than listening to my heart. I would focus on my career, my grades, learning and internship. You would think the amount of dedicated focus I promised to pursue this idea of stability with would make me everything ok. After all, its all about hard work isn’t it?
Nope. Sorry. Hard work can’t trump true passion. More importantly though, fear has a way of pulling a number on you. If you are dedicated to your cause but scared of what the outcome might be, you waste a lot of time focusing on screwing up . Leading you nowhere fruitful. However, despite the obstacles my fear created, I was lucky enough to secure a great internship and meet amazing people.
I opened up to one such person about my dilemma over lunch and received the advice I needed to move forward with my life . For anyone else going through this, I hope this helps. This wonderful person had been through changes in his own career and life. One year he had been on top of the world making incredible money doing a job he loved. The next , he decided to quit the role and as a result faced a challenging time in his life. He knew that while I wasn’t going through the same thing the fear that I would end up there was real to me. I was afraid that at some point, the sky would start falling and I wouldn’t know what to do. When my friend had been dealing with his own version of the sky falling down, his grandmother who had been through terrible times in her own life (imagine war, hunger etc) gave him words of encouragement that he passed on to me over ramen in a little lovely corner of this world.
“You have people that love you and will take care of you no matter what. I have seen some tough times but I have never seen anyone go without food or shelter. Even if you were to find yourself without your loved ones, food or shelter someday, you will find a way to survive through the help and kindness of others.
No matter what, everything will be ok. ”
And knowing that makes all the difference.
PS : it took two days to complete this post. Here goes nothing.