Filling Holes & Answering The Question: Why Was I Unhappy?

It’s been a year and change now since I’ve been here in India, and I think I can finally answer the question I posed to the ether in my first blog post.  It was the reason I quit my job and moved to India in the first place: Why am I unhappy?

Now, pretty confidently, I can tell you the answer.  Because in my previous life in the US, I wasn’t growing at all.  It’s as simple as that.  Well, to be fair, I was growing I suppose.  But I wasn’t growing at the rate at which I knew I could be.  I think I’ve realized that doing something meaningful is incredibly important to me.  Creating something that has some value to the planet is important to me.  But most important, I’ve realized, is that I need to be doing something that I am proud of- I need to be living up to my own potential.  You know what an incredible feeling it is, to know that every day, you are living up to your own potential?  Do you know how few people get to say that?

So many people hate getting older, but I love it.  I always wondered why. I think it’s because birthdays are a reminder that life is moving on, whether you’re ready or not.  But when you are making the most out of every minute of every day, let me tell you, I can’t wait until I’m 60.  Because at 60, I’ll know so much more than I do now! I can’t IMAGINE what I would have done in another 35 years! So much has happend in 1 year! Imagine 35 MORE OF THESE YEARS?! It’s nuts.  It gives me nerd chills.

The reason I know that I’m living up to my potential is because I’m stretched every day.  I feel like I am an entirely new person from a year ago.  I’ve been through crazy things, I feel like hell and back, and I’m still here, living to tell the story.  How many times do you get to stand face to face with failure, walk in its shadow every day, but learn to deal with it- even start to neglect it?  I’ve made millions of mistakes, learned from those mistakes, still learning that some things that I’ve done are mistakes, made good decisions, bad decisions, hired people, fired people, have people quit on me, make enemies, make friends.  You name it, it’s probably happened, in some way, shape, or form.

It’s the human experience.  I feel like I am finally living the human experience.  Unless you’re put through the gamut of emotion, how will you understand what life is all about?  Unless you’re living on the edge, your own personal edge (whatever that may be), how will you begin to even comprehend the complexity and beauty which is…this thing we call life?

Because ultimately, aren’t we all, either consciously or subconsciously, trying to answer that great, existential question: why am I here?  Why was I placed on this planet?  Isn’t that what we all really want to know?

I am probably no closer to answering that question than you are, but I think I’ve learned a thing or two along the way about how to at least start figuring it out.  I think all humans have been equipped with an internal compass- a compass that really does point us due north, or the direction of purpose.  I think it’s called happiness.  I am pretty convinced that if we have the courage to be incredibly happy and content with our lives, we’ll be taking that first step to start answering those bigger questions.

These are just my own personal hypotheses. I have no way of proving or disproving this stuff- it could be just bizarre and totally nuts.  But it doesn’t really matter, because I kind of feel like that guy from the movie Limitless, starting to break out of the Matrix.  Except I don’t have any magic drugs.  I guess I’m just high on life.

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4 thoughts on “Filling Holes & Answering The Question: Why Was I Unhappy?

  1. In the course of growing older and wiser, people in their 20’s go through that same process of trying to figure one’s ownself out. “Who am I?” “What’s my purposee in life?” “Is there more to life than this?” “What is the meaning to life?” These are the questions of those in their mid-20’s. You are lucky to be able to answer those questions and to be happy with your findings. You have just experinced a perfectly normal and natural process called growing up. Congratulations! I am truly proud of you, now go get ’em!

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  2. I really enjoyed this piece. A friend just last night asked me this same question, “Why am I unhappy?” I didn’t have a clear response, but told her that to find happiness is to find a path you want to traverse (having a purpose) that you are capable of traversing (as opposed to having unrealistic/materialistic goals), and having the courage to traverse it. All of which I believe you accomplished.

    I also left the US a little over a year ago (August 2011) after quitting my job to come to China, and live the entrepreneurial life. While the challenges we face may be different, I’m glad to meet a fellow vagabond!

    -Michael

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  3. That’s good Anu – it sounds like you’ve been grooving on exponential growth for that year. You can definitely continue that for a long time – you get used to pushing the boundaries of what’s conceivable to you. And I think nominal evidence that you’re learning from your mistakes is that more recent mistakes seem less repugnant than older ones. I’ve felt for about 7-8 years now that me from 18-24 months ago was pretty ignorant and I don’t see myself coming to the final conception anytime soon. It’s like Moore’s law with Intel doubling the number of transistors every two years for 40 years now, until they run out of atoms. The human body is also very advanced, so perhaps decades of exponential self-discovery could be sustained with the right effort.

    For example, lately I feel that I should love everyone. What does that even mean, and is it possible? How should I think and act accordingly? I think it comes naturally to some people but for me it’s taking a long evolution.

    Cheers, ~~~~

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