I think ideally, you need to be able to know what you want out of life. It sounds simple, but having clarity about that is one of the toughest/hardest things you can do. Because there are SO many things we can want out of life. And the thing that makes it confusing is that its not just you, there are so many other people involved who want things for/from you as well. For example, this is what I felt my parents/family wanted from my life:
- Have a well paying, stable job (preferably using my civil engineering degree)
- Live in an area where I could visit them every weekend (or at LEAST once a month)
- Be engaged/married by 25 (i.e. next year)
This is what the UC Berkeley/the people I associated with made me feel that I should want:
- Live in San Francisco
- Have a well paying job (to afford living in San Francisco)
- Spend time exploring nature or the Bay Area in general by hiking/camping/other outdoor activities
- Find someone to spend the rest of your life with
- Hang out with your friends on the weekend/after work
- Use your free time to figure out what your next step in life is
But what did I want for MY OWN life? It got really confusing. And I felt myself…stagnating. I wasn’t growing as a person anymore. And I wasn’t happy. My job was ok, but it wasn’t really satisfying. I knew that going into the job, but I thought that my fat paycheck would make up for it. Unfortunately, it really didn’t. To try and fill that void, I tried doing more of the things I used to love- playing basketball, reading for fun, going out in San Francisco, hanging out with friends- and it definitely helped some, but the hole was still there. I thought that I needed stimulation- so I tried new things like learning how to cook, meeting new people, volunteering for different things- and again, it helped some, but not to the extent that I was hoping it would.
So getting back to the question- what did I ACTUALLY want? I couldn’t tell you. I still can’t really tell you, but I feel like I’m making progress. But I have also realized that sometimes, it’s more important to know what you DON’T want. And deep down I knew that my current life was not something I wanted. If something sucks, change it.
And that’s what I did. The only real information I needed to make the decision to quit and move was that a) I was definitely not satisfied with my current life and b) when I had worked in India before, I absolutely loved it. Now I knew that working there for a few months at a time is VASTLY different from living there, but it was a chance I was willing to take. All I knew was that I was in a life low, and I needed to get out. And when NextDrop got funded
, I got my opportunity.
Now you’re thinking, well Anu, you’re lucky. You were presented with an amazing opportunity- be CEO of an incredibly promising social enterprise in India. This is true, I am lucky. But I have also realized, that if we REALLY want something, we need to go out and get it. We all have networks that we can leverage to get what we want.
So what’s stopping us? I think what’s really stopping us is our own fear. What happens when that day comes when we ACTUALLY have to stop talking about how we hate our lives and DO something about it? It’s scary- let me tell you. At least your current life is a known quantity. It sucks, but you know exactly how much it sucks. What if your new life sucks even more?
What if it’s everything you’ve ever wanted and you are filling gaps you didn’t even know you had in your life? What if taking this leap of faith is the most amazing thing you’ve ever done in your entire life?
And that’s what I did. I took the leap of faith.
What happened? Did it work out? I guess that’s what this blog is for- to document the “morning after”.