Originally published on 22nd September, 2015.
I feel lost. I feel scared. I have no idea where my life is headed and the best I can do is take each day as it comes with the hope that I don’t regret when I look back later- only to think I was wasting my time all this while.
I spent the last couple of weeks talking to people my age; people who are going through transitions in life. While everyone had their own struggles to share, I found that everyone shared a similar feeling of insecurity and fear as to what the future may hold. In my own ways, I tried to tell them that it was OK and that they are not the only ones. Hence, this blog is for lost souls like myself. I don’t have answers. The idea is to confuse you more with more questions.
After all, a wise man once said, “It isn’t about the answers, but the better questions.”
Six months after graduating and life is suddenly so different. No report cards telling you whether you are on the right path or the wrong one. No immediate results to give you a sense of accomplishment. No one else to walk besides you on your journey; a feeling that you are all on your own. Just a trial and error approach with your hopes firmly stuck on a lot of hits and lesser misses.
Different life from how school used to be
3.91 GPA, valedictorian and a supposedly the smart guy of the batch tipped to do great things in life is suddenly on this crossroad where there is a lot of self-doubt. Where am I headed? What choices will I make? Will those choices help me on my path or stray me away from it? Even if I make my choices, what’s my path anyways? Why am I alone? Is this how it is supposed to be? What will my life be like in five, ten, twenty years from now?
I’ve mentioned this just so that you do not fool yourself thinking that I’ve got it all figured out. No I don’t. I’m equally blank and clueless. The feeling of uncertainty, self-doubt and loneliness that a transition phrase brings affects both sides of the spectrum- ones who want to build on what they have done till date and equally the ones who now feel it is time to gear up for something notable in life.
It is then you get to a point where it is so much easier to overestimate the past. You want to go back to school/college and relive those tension free days-where you belonged to a community of peers, where you had people around you; people who you thought were on the same path as you were. Where the most stressed you ever were was when you had to complete an assignment before its deadline. And then when you realize you can’t go back in time, now your attention switches to the future. Only problem is, you’ll see it as more unresolved than it will be.
The mind wanders off. Gets swayed by what was and what could have been leading to what will be. You forget to appreciate what is.
The fear of failure
The mind is full of questions. They haunt you; sometimes all too often, sometimes never at all. Everyone your age you meet will tell you of their similar fears. The fear of failure; the fear that uncertainty brings- that they won’t be able to make it BIG in life. But then think about it. What is ‘making it BIG in life?’ Is it based on your own judgment of how your life should pan out or living the life others expect of you?
Get a Masters just because everyone else is doing it? Don’t want to get a job just because ‘9-5′ is outdated and boring according to your friends? Go to a GMAT class just because everyone else is doing it?
But have you asked yourself what is it that you really want to do?
The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
Ones who have jobs want to be employers. Ones who are jobless envy the ones who have one. Ones inheriting their parents’ business are scared of the benchmarks they have already set, some are not even interested but yet forced to take it on and some just simply wish they could escape it all.
The grass always seems greener on the other side doesn’t it?
Then again question yourself. If we were to truly be true to ourselves, couldn’t we so easily turn the Fear of Missing Out(FOMO) into JOMO- The Joy of Missing Out? Because no matter what others are doing, you would be at peace because you would eliminate what you don’t want and go on with what you love doing. Just for instance, not having to go to parties just to be ‘hip’ when all you really want is to be home in your PJ’s and read a nice book. You wouldn’t feel the need to follow the herd.
“Beware of winning the rat race. You may win the race, but you’ll still remain a rat.”
You my friend are on this quest for searching for answers. It’s confusing and frustrating at times. You are lost and lonely.
You are not the only one. Each and every one your age is a part of this transition phase. Everyone is struggling with their own battles. Life is trial and error; mostly errors. The idea is to navigate your way through the maze of life, uncovering the puzzles and taking each experience as it comes. As Buddha put it, “No one can save us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”
Some maybe more significant; others less, but an experience to you nonetheless. You cannot be transactional. You’ll need a transformational approach; simply because you can’t have results right away. You need to build on small doses of progress and set backs from every day. It is OK not to have all the answers. Would life be so much more fun and interesting if we had all the answers? Isn’t it the chase that’s actually more interesting than the catch itself? Once you find the answers, you risk completion.Remember, it’s not about the answers- it’s about the better questions.This is not your school or college; this is the school of your life. There are no grade sheets. No pass or fail. The results are relative. The only question is: are the results relative to you or the opinions/expectations of others around you?
Only when we are lost that we are found.
You are a traveler in search of signification.