Of late, there is this one thing that has been bugging me. Relentlessly. It is always there in the back of my mind, this thought that I’m trudging through today so that I can live tomorrow.
Just close your eyes and think for a moment. In college, our aim was to get a job. ASAP. We sailed through the college days, had the time of our lives, downed a couple of celebratory Cokes when we got placed and waited for our lives to begin. Awesome job, money in the pocket, independence – life set ho gaya.
And then we started to work. Now here, some of us got the jackpot. Some of us knew exactly what we wanted and worked for it. Hard. But most of us didn’t. We were not clueless, no sire. We had/have a pretty good idea of what it is that we want to do. Or be. For instance, we know that we want to earn a fat paycheck every year (How many of you will admit it, that is a discussion for another day). We know that we want to be respected. We know that our parents should be proud of us, that we should be able to provide for them if need be. But how? We don’t really know. And we don’t want to either.
And why should we think about it actively? So far, everything has gone pretty well for us. Everyone told us to study regularly. We didn’t. We mugged up some stuff day before the exams, slept for 2-3 hours and contrary to our parents’ prediction, were able to recollect quite well during exams. We got pretty good grades and without toiling too much, got into reasonably good companies with a reasonably good pay-packet. This ain’t the first time that we’ve been told how important it is to plan your future. And it’s definitely not going to be the last.
These are some of the thoughts that have been swirling through my mind for the past few weeks. Disturbingly recurring thoughts. You see, I have a pattern. Every morning I get up, go off to work, survive through it and look forward to the evenings when I’ll finally get to do some ‘quality work’. Now the evenings, of course, rush off in the blink of an eye and before I know it, a new day has dawned. Every single day at work, when confronted with something that is beyond my immediate understanding, I vow to myself “Today I’ll go and try and get to the bottom of this.” And then I remind myself that I’m not here to stay. This job is just one of the many, many steps I have to climb so that one day, I can drink from the ‘Dragon Well’ upon which my life will miraculously be perfect.
My life was starting to piss me off.
Today, I had a very interesting session at work. The speaker, a wonderfully articulate JNU-bred business skill specialist shared some thought-provoking ideas. To be fair, there was nothing new in what he spoke. It was just something that had come to me at the right time in the right mood. He told us that ‘goals are dreams with a deadline’. Goals are tangible, not abstract – they are not something that you want to do at some point of your life. Also, there should be certain expectations behind your goal, something that you expect to gain once you attain that goal. He went on to ask a few of my colleagues about their goals. Not one could articulate what she/he wanted to be. And those who tried were stumped when he asked them what they expect to gain out of it.
Now this got me thinking. And once I started to think, I couldn’t wait to get home to try sketching out my path in life. And, as is apparent, I couldn’t. As sure as I am of what my future should be like, I couldn’t translate it to a piece of paper to lend a bit of clarity to it.
Which is why I’m bugging you with this long-drawn solipsism. Plus, there is something that I’d like you to do. Sit down in front of your lap or take a paper and jot down what you want to be few years down the lane. And then, jot down how what you are doing now is helping you get there. I recognize how unlike my usual self this particular post is, but please, just go with me on this one. And yes, I buy your argument that every single thing in life can’t (and shouldn’t) be planned. I agree with you. I’m not telling you to prepare a chart for life. I’m just requesting you to make an attempt to align present-day-you with the ‘dream-you’.
Sleep on it. When you wake up, you’ll realize that you’ve peeled off another layer of the mystery that is you.