This Is The Story Of The World

I’m trying to come up with a fundraising pitch but all I can really think about is the story of my life.  I’ve decided that all lives are stories and how happy we feel is how we choose to think about it.  Happiness is how we choose to connect the dots and what narrative we create.  That’s how good fundraising pitches work.  Connecting the dots to create a cohesive narrative in a way that’s compelling to someone else.

I think that’s how happiness works too.  Connecting the dots to create a compelling narrative that you’re satisfied with.

It’s also called “half empty or half full”syndrome.  Ok I just made that up.  But you know what I mean.  Optimist or pessimist?  I think anyone can decide whichever one they want to be.

Now that it feels less shit show like, I feel like my life story is becoming more cohesive.  The way I want.  So far it’s:

  • Ages 0-18:
    • Girl wants to do something positive for the world but keeps getting told that she’s too young to do anything yet.
  • College:
    • Girl Face- plants for the most part, but succeeds enough to get by
  • The NextDrop 1.0 Years (2011-2017):
    • Repeat Face-plant but girl has enough experience/learnings/ hints of a new idea/is crazy enough to try again
  • June 2017- Present:
    • Girl gets funded with the new idea and builds a team to help her succeed
      • i.e a co founder for the business who has been through fire and back with her and she trusts immensely
      • ie. a life partner for her personal life who is pretty much the Yin to her Yang, the Clyde to her Bonnie.
      • i.e. really good family & friends around the world that help her get up when she eats shit, which, turns out, is decently frequently, but that’s ok because they don’t judge.  They just laugh with her along the way and dust her off and help her up and encourage her to try again.  And they remind her that everything is going to be ok.

That is currently the story of my world.

Does This Make Me Look Fat? (And Other Highly Irrational Questions I Ask)

Do you ever see yourself do something and you’re like…nooo….not that thing…WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT THING?! DON’T DO IT DON’T DO IT…and then it’s just too late and the train wreck which is your life is in progress.  Ok not all your life.  Just situations where you are acting incredibly irrationally.  Like when you break down in tears because…YOU CAN’T DO THE LAUNDRY (and lets be real, by “do” the laundry, it’s pick up the phone to use the app to call someone to pick up your clothes- this is Bangalore people who with the internet does anything themselves these days?)

It’s not even a nervous breakdown because…well…that card was already played. (And you’ve kind of felt that sort of stress before and this doesn’t feel like that).  It’s more like…holy shit.  THIS IS HOW I AM.  I do and say and act incredibly irrationally. A MAJORITY OF THE TIME.  Ok ok ok maybe not a majority of the time.  But way more times than you’d like. In your head you’re like…bordering on the genius and clarity of thought of a modern Indian Nassim Taleb…and then you watch yourself….completely eat shit.  Just…faceplant.  Metaphorically speaking.  (I mean, literally speaking too sometimes- less often now which is nice).

The Art of Thinking Clearly is more like the art of …. Jesus Christ this is really really hard who does this anyway, and is there an Evernote shortcut for this? And…my brain is really really tired can I just cry and/or yell? Because that’s waaaay easier.  No wonder it’s the weapon of choice for kids everywhere.  Question: If you are trying to do this “Adulting” thing, can you do the whole yelling and crying arbitrarily? Is that allowed? Or is it more…only if it’s socially acceptable and proper?  Like only if your house is on fire it’s ok, and not ok if you want to randomly yell at a rock on the road because…just because? Follow Up Question: Is randomly crying while you wear sunglasses in the back of an Uber allowed? Like you’re kind of heave sobbing while he is driving and he can like…kind of see you in the rear view mirror but you’re also wearing sunglasses so he thinks maybe that’s just the way you breathe and he’s caught in between wtf should I do is she dying do I need to go to the hospital and…maybe if I just ignore her she’ll stop?

Maybe this is why people use drugs.

DAMN YOU DRUGS AND YOUR SOLUTIONS FOR WORLD PROBLEMS.

(This post does not formally endorse or NOT endorse drugs.  But if you are a child and are reading this, say no to drugs.  Smoking kills.  But wait a minute- if you’re a child, are you even allowed on the internet? Actually, I think you have way bigger problems than drugs if you’re a child and reading this.  Oh god.  Kids and the internet.  Horrifying.)

You Can’t Be Angry And Grateful At The Same Time (Apparently)

I usually hate it when people say shit like this, but I get even more annoyed when I realize that it’s true.  I know because I tried. Being grateful instead of angry I mean.  And I am a much happier camper this week. This experiment started because well.. last week was le shit.  Something HAD to change (otherwise I would die of a heart attack at age 35, alone, in a ditch, with nobody around me except a stray dog- yes this is how I imagined my death if I stayed being Angry Anu all the time).  And I was soooo far gone that I literally had to watch YouTube Videos on “how to be grateful.”  Yes.  I know.  It’s like watching YouTube videos on how to breathe (but as I write this I’m like…oh wait…I TOTALLY WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS ON HOW TO BREATHE BECAUSE I JUST FOUND OUT I’M DOING IT WRONG!) Ok but that’s not the point.  Angry and grateful. FOCUS ANU. Ok I’m back.

I don’t know- I guess there’s not much more to it than that.  Actually, there is.  I figured out the other thing that was making me angry all the time.  I didn’t feel like I was getting enough time to get important work done.  And every entrepreneur I know is like…oh I work a billion hours a day and I don’t sleep.  And I’m like…fuuuuuck that.  If I don’t sleep I will murder people.  And I’ll be in prison. And I will die in prison because I definitely look like the weakest link, lets be real here.  So basically, no way I’m not sleeping.  I realized I just needed a few more hours a week to get some critical stuff done.  Literally just 3-4.  That’s 2 meetings + travel (if it’s in person).  So…I just said no to a few more work things this week.  Mostly meetings.  And of those meetings, 100% of them are either catching up or exploratory meetings with people other than my business partner or potential clients.  It’s amazing how many meetings you take that actually aren’t mission critical.  And that freed up a few more hours this week.  And now…I am finishing the ish that needs to get done.  And I feel DAMN good about it.

SO yeah.  I think the secret to sleeping while being an entrepreneur is actually…being a recluse.  In the business sense.  I don’t care if there is a potential collaboration down the line, or a media opportunity, or…whatever.  If you aren’t immediately relevant to me to ship ish, I’m going to push it for a few months.  I don’t think anything will die.  And I won’t murder people. I think that’s the win win.  NOBODY DIES.

So in conclusion folks, if nobody dies, that’s probably a win. For everyone involved.

Sometimes I Have So Much Emotion I Don’t Know What To Do With It

And by emotion, I mostly mean the destructive sorts of emotions.  Like rage, frustration, anxiety.  You know. Those.  Sometimes I feel like I’m two different people- one part of me (the objective, logical side) looks at the other part and is like..whoa.  WHERE DID THAT COME FROM AND WTF ARE YOU DOING?! Today, case in point, I yelled at the ATM.  Literally yelled at it. Mostly because it’s a closed room (only me, the ATM, and a dog). And the dog can’t judge me.  Ok it can, but you know. Whatever.

To be honest, I think I underestimate myself and my ability to emote.  I have a lot of them.  Emotions I mean.  Usually they are the more decent ones (which is acceptable for the general public), but lately (and by lately I mean the last two weeks), it’s been you know.  The other ones.  The ones that nobody really wants to be on the receiving end of.  I try not to put animate objects on the receiving end of them.  Hopefully I’m somewhat successful.  We’ll see how many people hate my guts in the coming weeks.

Where is this all coming from? I think it’s coming from this archaic belief that I must be perfect at work.  Now that I’m getting this second chance, HOW AM I NOT BEING PERFECT YET?! And if I’m not perfect, God should smote me down.  That’s what one part of my brain is telling the other part of my brain.  And by telling I mean yelling.  And unfortunately, right now, the crazy side is winning.

I guess it’s a work in progress.  Hopefully with this second chance, I also learn how to not be a crazy person and enjoy life while also doing the thing I’m supposed to “love”.

Getting Un-Broken

After you shatter your life to billions of tiny pieces, the only thing left is to start putting it back together.  One piece at a time.  Put one foot in front of the other and try not to fall.  If you don’t fall, it’s a good day.  Sometimes you have to re-learn how to walk.  Because turns out, you weren’t really walking very well the first time around.  More like limping kind of, but you didn’t know you were even doing it.  It’s like when you’re little and you’re so excited to learn how to crawl, and you’re so proud of yourself for learning how to crawl, but then you learn about this thing called walking and you’re like wait a minute.  WTF HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL MY LIFE?! And then even if you fall when you’re walking it’s still way better than crawling? (Not that I remember what it felt like to be 2, but having observed some small children over the past few years I’m just annotating what I think is going through their heads.  Also there is no way to confirm or deny this so I’m going with the analogy).

You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it, right?

It’s really hard not to get really mad at yourself though.  HOW IS THIS NOT FIGURED OUT YET? Oh yeah.  Because I broke this.  On purpose.  And on accident.  A purposeful accident.  Accident because you didn’t know what the end result would be.  But on purpose because what you had before just wasn’t cutting it and you were willing to take that leap of faith to say that the next thing has to be better than what I have now.  Kind of like the (almost) first blog post. Coming full circle.  I guess that’s what gives me faith to do it again.  I did this once before.  Almost 6 years ago.  And it worked out ok.  In fact, it worked out better than I could have imagined.  Not perfect, obviously, but what’s really perfect anyway? (Except George Clooney- I think he is the exception that proves the rule, I’m just saying).

I think I just need to give myself that last push off the ledge to go for it.  6 years ago was easier because guess what.  I didn’t have anything to lose (or if I did I wasn’t really thinking about it).  Being young and dumb has its perks.  I’m still dumb and young but not dumb enough to know nothing about what I’m doing this time around and exactly what I’m giving up.  There are pros and cons to this.  I think that means it’s harder to do it this time around, but I think chances of success are also significantly higher. Mostly because if there was a mistake, I’ve probably already made it.  At least the easy ones.  I’ve made a significant number of those.

Isn’t it weird to think of your life as a bunch of mistakes that you just feel less shitty about over time? That’s slightly depressing.  I feel like there’s a more poetic and less depressing way to say this, but I can’t think of it right now.  I’m definitely not at the point where I’m looking back at this time in life and saying oh, how cute.  That was definitely needed to do X, Y, and Z and I’m so glad I did it.  I’m still at the…oh lord please don’t let all hell break loose and yes I’m really really grateful for this second chance and all but please help me fuck up less this time or at least if I do please make it feel less like I’m going to DIE and more like…a paper-cut (still painful because I’m a baby and have no pain tolerance, but you know, if I have to be in SOME kind of pain, this is preferable- can you make a note of this please, should I send it to your secretary? Maybe email? Has Google reached you yet??).  K Thanks.

Love Anu.

 

Sometimes Things Get Better

Like if you hold your breath long enough sometimes things start falling into place.  Let me rephrase that.  If you work your ass off WHILE holding your breath long enough things start falling into place.

Rewind about 2.5 weeks ago.  I realized that I just wasn’t giving work my all.  I wasn’t.  I mean, on a to do list it looked ok but if I really asked myself if I was giving life my 100%, the answer was no.  Nobody else would have been able to say that.  Only me.  Because I know myself and I know what I am capable of doing. I knew I could do more.

And I also vowed this year to just stop lying to myself about shit.  I’m tired of it.  There’s no point.  In fact, that’s probably the thing that got me in the hot mess shit hole in the first place.  I mean, if I was honest with myself and just took stock of life a few years ago (hell, lets go ALL the way back to some 3-4 years ago) things could have been different. But until time travel is invented (which I’m SO down for), all that KIND of doesn’t matter.  So new beginnings, no more self lying.  And I’ve also decided that there’s nothing wrong with saying hey Anu. Guess what.  You know you can do better than this.  Sometimes you can’t.  And I’ve been there too. But that’s not where I was 2.5 weeks ago.  And I’ve been around the block enough now to know the difference.

So that’s when I found another gear and dialed into it.  Put it in motion. And you know what? Things started moving.  People who I was trying to connect with for MONTHS randomly contacted me back.  I was figuring out how to reach out to the World Bank and guess what.  They reached out to me.

I really believe that when you, deep down, figure that you can do better, and you actually dig deep to move- the world tries to help you back.  I’m a big believer in that.  Also, it kind of doesn’t matter what the end result of all this stuff is.  Maybe nothing will work out with any of the leads we are getting.  But at the end of the day, I just FEEL better.  I FEEL like I’m living up to my potential as a human being on this planet.  I FEEL like I’m moving in the right direction.

And I’ve realized that when your life is usually a chaotic hot mess, that feeling of creative fulfillment, is sometimes enough.

Notes On Very Public MeltDowns

So I was talking to my friend and she was like oh man Anu.  I was reading your blogs.  I loved the way you publicly melted down.  That was epic.  I hadn’t actually thought if it like that until now but I was like…yeah.  That happened.  It’s mainly because I tried to see a therapist and she was like…uh…blah blah blah…I think we’re done here, you don’t have to come any more.  And then I’m like…BUT I”M SITTING HERE STILL CRYING IN YOUR SEAT USING YOUR ENTIRE BOX OF TISSUES WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM WOMAN.  Except I didn’t actually say that, I just said ok and stopped going.  And then I tried to find a better one, but I think all the real ones actually charge shit tons of money and have years of waitlists I don’t really have shit tons of money and I’m impatient AF so I was like…THE INTERNET IS MY THERAPIST.

Also, I really really enjoyed reading other people’s ish around when shit was hitting the fan so I was like…lets contribute to this body of literature.  Public melt-down-ing. That’s a genre now.

Things are somewhat chaotic but I think things will always be chaotic. I’ve decided my life is always going to be chaotic.  For the near to distant near future at least.  I am going to call it…un boring.  Sometimes in the morning I struggle to get out of bed, this is true.  Mostly because I’m dreading what’s going to happen that day. Also, sometimes, my biggest accomplishment is taking a shower.  Or so it feels.  I didn’t just stay in my pajamas all day.  I took a shower and got dressed.  YES.  And other days are really great.  I”m up before my alarm and I’m on top of my ish.  Sometimes I avoid the world for a few weeks, and sometimes I’m all about trying to meet people.  It’s a grab bag really.

Anyway, that’s what the world of Anu looks like right about now. Chaotic AF and who knows what the day will hold.

Life Thoughts: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Do you ever feel like the pieces of happiness are right there, right in front of you, you’re just not putting them together the right way? That’s how I feel right now.  It’s so infuriating because I feel like I’m so close and yet, somehow, it’s just evading my reach.

One big thing I’ve realized is that what got me here won’t get me to where I want to be.  What does that mean? It means that I have to chuck every strategy and method I’ve used over the past 29 years and get new ones to get me to where I want to go in my 30’s.

The main difference, at least in my head, is really about feeling. I’m one of those people that avoids feelings like the plague.  I like to compartmentalize, avoid, work over/through and pretend that feelings are some alien concept to me until the cows come home (or populate the streets of Bangalore).  I think it’s because I’m terrified of what I feel. Half the time I don’t even know what I’m feeling, and the other half I pretend like they don’t exist.  I’m terrified of the work that it takes to actually face them head on.  Does this mean that I’ll never be successful? Will I turn into a bag of mush and never be able to leave my house through the sheer lack of will due to the terrible nature of this thing we call the human existence?  (Do I need to redefine my definition of success??)

These are the questions that terrify me and make me want to keep avoiding feelings for all of eternity.  Except…I know deep down that this is a terrible idea.  I know that avoiding my feelings got me this far, but I also know that if I want to be the best version of myself, I need to tap into this part of me that’s been dormant for 29 years.

What worries me? The fact that I already cry like a baby at movies like A Cinderella Story (yes, with HILLARY DUFF THAT ONE JUDGEY MC JUDGERSON). That’s with me TRYING to suppress these feelings.  My greatest fear is that I will be one hot mess that can’t even find the will to get up in the morning.

What do I have going for me? Well, I’ve already been a hot mess, and I figure I can get out of that so even if I do turn into a big bag of mush, I’ve been there.  I mean the hot mess bit.   And I’m sort of on the other side (at least to me it feels that way), so really this won’t be new.

I still think the potential upside far outweighs the downside.  Hot mess vs…a more fulfilled life? Yeah, I’ll take that.

What does this look like? I still don’t know.  But I’m starting from ground 0 again.  And if I’ve done it in a big way before, I’m probably going to avoid it.  Try something new.

What is this new stuff? I guess that will be the content of future blog posts.

To be continued.

I Don’t Know What My Perfect Life Looks Like

I know you’re not really supposed to say that, especially since I’m almost turning 30, but I’m kind of tired of stressing myself out with planning things. I do think there’s some benefit to some life plan, I mean it logically makes sense.  But I also know that I made a plan and nothing (literally, I mean nothing) went according to the plan.  And I love my life. Like seriously, I’m so lucky.  I could have never planned this.  And I spent so much energy beating myself up over having failed plans (or at least my subconscious did) when I could spend my time I don’t know…enjoying my life and being happy as a clam.

Maybe there’s a middle ground. The controlling side of me hates the idea of not planning anything.  And I do think that planning is somewhat useful.  But maybe it’s around the types of things we plan.

Or maybe there’s a different approach.  Maybe I know what I’m optimizing for.  Maybe I know that I’m trying to grow the most as a person, all the time.  Learn about the world and other humans and live a life of wonder and awe.  Maybe it’s around not knowing, but just making sure that there are ups and downs to everything, and you accept whatever consequences life gives you.  I just know one thing. I don’t want to live a life with regrets.

As women (hell, maybe men too) we think about time bound potential regrets:

  • I want to get married (is this one time bound anymore? Probably not?)
  • I want to have a kid

Ok wow. I have ONE. Having a child.  So this is what it’s all about.  I’m also starting to question this idea.  Do I want a kid of my own? Do I want a child? I have no idea.  I think at this point I could go either way.  And maybe that’s enough for now.

I used to think life is like a game of chess.  But seriously, do you really need to be planning the end game when you make the first move? I mean who are you playing against- God? Your higher self? Life is more like…Blackjack.  I think we’re all kind of swimming along and we take it as we comes. Sometimes you nail it, you beat the house.  And sometimes, it just all goes to shit. But at the end of the day, you have to enjoy playing.  Whether you win or lose.

But it kind of sucks if you’re trying to play Chess when really you need to be gearing up for Blackjack.  I feel like the mindspace is totally different for both.  Maybe that’s been my problem.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll have more information in a few years.

Sometimes The World Breaks You Down

It’s really funny because now that I’m reviewing all the things that I want to change (because you know what they say, if you keep doing the same thing expecting different results, that’s literally defined as insanity), I’m realizing that most of the things I want to change have me going back to the way I used to be.  And by used to be, I mean how I was growing up.  How I was back in high school.  How I was in college (at least the first two years).

I think the biggest difference is that I didn’t know what the real world felt like back then.  I didn’t have anyone telling me that I couldn’t do it, or my own experiences telling me how difficult things would be and how I’m just not measuring up (yet).  And I thought the way to cope with the world was to…assimilate. Believe the constructs people told me to believe.  Being nice doesn’t pay off.  Hard work isn’t enough.  You need to be doing the right thing.  You need to work your ass off to make it.  Oh yeah, you’re probably not going to make it.  You’re not going to make the money you think you’re going to make.  Life doesn’t work out the way you think.

And to be honest, a lot of that is true.  Except here’s the thing- the solution isn’t changing the ways I thought I needed to be changing.  In fact, the way to deal with it, turns out, is to be the way I used to be.  That’s the only way to really solve these problems.

I used to work so hard.  Now I know what I need to actually be working hard on the right things (because I have done most of the wrong things already).  I need to be optimistic.  But at the same time, I need to live in reality and accept that I’m wrong most of the time.  But guess what-so are you.  The only way to win is to accept it as fast as possible and change.  Oh yeah, you know what keeps people sane? Turns out, it’s actually gratitude. Life is just a bunch of data points, I prefer to string them together to form a narrative that brings me the most joy. Also, money is super important.  Really really important.  It may not be the only thing that makes you happy, but let me tell you, if you don’t have enough to pay your bills and live the life you want, it’s a bitch.  But you know what? If I work hard enough and I keep my eyes open to reality, the money will come.  It will.  I know it.  I don’t know how- oh wait. I do.  Because that’s the way I used to live before I stopped believing it could be that easy.  Let me redefine easy.  Facing the hard things, and putting in the work to get the things done that needs to get done.  Also, no is not really a word I was familiar with.  (Stubborn much?)   It just means you don’t see the win-win I am seeing.  So clearly, I’m just not articulate enough.  Solvable problem.  Everything is a solvable problem.  I’m also not made up of my emotions.  Emotions tell me something is off, but it doesn’t guide my decision making.  I make decisions from a state of joy.  Not fear.  Like when you go to the grocery store when you’re hungry.  Terrible idea.  Best example of fear based decision making though, turns out.  Learned my life lesson.

Finally, thanks Derek Sivers.  I’m really really really trying not to be a donkey.

This is what my jet lag is telling me.  I think it could be decently right though.

Happy Holidays