Holly: I get so afraid sometimes… Our life’s never gonna start.
Gerry: No, baby. We’re already in our life. It’s already started. This is it. You have to stop waiting, baby.
—P.S. I Love You
While Holly Kennedy might have been waiting for her life to start only after she manages to have a bigger apartment and the security that she desired within her marriage, most of us are waiting for something too. Irrespective of where we currently stand in our lives, we’ve all set a benchmark for ourselves. We feel that once we cross it, only then our life will start and everything that follows will be a cake walk. For instance, if we’re working, we want to quit our jobs and explore other options or pursue higher education. On the other hand, if we’re studying, we want to start working as soon as possible, because honestly speaking: we’re tired of living off our parent’s money! Single people might believe that the blooming of a love affair would fill that void; while the ones probably in their late twenties deem that getting married is how their “real” life will commence. And the permutations and combinations to this list are infinite.
Despite all our assumptions of what might possibly lead us to achieve that state of nirvana, are we really sure of this “one” thing that will satiate our hunger and truly liberate us? The Lost Generation, in the historical context, might refer to the one that came of age during World War I, but are we, the “Millennial”, not lost? They struggled with the consequences of the war raging outside. We, contrastively, incessantly fight our inner battles, day after another. We scuffle to unravel the mystery of what we desire; that one thing which will keep us high in our spirits for eternity.
When I got the opportunity to work in my company, I was so overwhelmed by the very news of being chosen, that I labelled it as my “dream job”. I had a lot of apprehensions too, about working, because I was just a graduate, and clearly wanted to pursue higher education. People kept confusing me by saying once you start working, the reward of a constant income becomes an addiction and it will be tough to quit. Nevertheless, I followed the whispers of my heart and took a leap of faith. However, within six months, reality struck me like thunderbolt. Nothing was dreamy about this job, it had become mundane. So, I strategized that I will work for two good years, acquire the experience of working in a corporate milieu, and in the meanwhile figure out what my passion is and toil towards accomplishing it.
It’s been two years and I still haven’t been able to decipher how I want my career to pan out. All this while, the only thing that’s been recurring in my head is that this job has been devouring every possible dream that I could have worked upon and the effort that I could have invested in doing something meaningful that I genuinely believe in, as opposed to something completely unsatisfactory. I know two years is a lot, and you must be wondering why I haven’t quit yet? Well, that’s because I’m not sharing my success story, I’m sharing the journey of being lost and still being in the pursuit of discovering myself.
I don’t like work—no man does—but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself not for others—what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and never can tell what it really means.
—Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
I have always admired these words of Conrad since the day I first read them, but their true meaning I have discovered lately. Through this work experience, I have gradually figured out the reality for myself and ascended towards the first step of solving the quest of self-discovery. I have fathomed that it is not just money that would quench my thirst. I truly wish to experience the sense of fulfilment that one achieves in the work that they’re doing. I’m not saying I have unscrambled what will provide me that contentment, but I definitely know what won’t. The good thing is that I’m not a Jon Snow anymore 😉
However, somewhere along this journey, I have also made peace with the fact that the hunt of finding oneself is never ending. We are the generation which believes that “change is the only constant”. We lay our faith in experiencing the unexplored and overcoming our fears by taking risks.
The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
It is given that every risk that you take is an opportunity to learn something new. Hence, even though my job is not a dream job, I still do not, even for once, regret having taken that decision; because, no matter how unfulfilling it might seem, it has taught me some major life lessons and acquainted me to a different world altogether. Therefore, what I’m trying to convey here is that your risks might be a failure, but they will never be futile! They will be worth a million struggles and a zillion experiences.
So let us all make the most out of what we have in the present and keep gambling. We just need to concentrate every positive charge of our psyche and have the faith that lights will guide us to our destination. And who knows? Eventually, we’ll end up finding ourselves like Holly Kennedy did!