Europe? Hot Girlfriend? Job at Google?

You hit the 20 mark — you know the beginning of the dark ages when you start saying no to ‘come on dude, one more shot’ and guzzle down a litre of water instead in a last ditch attempt to appear less corpse-like at work the next morning — and overnight, it feels like things that were floating around in your peripheral vision, rise up like pernicious ghosts to smack you in the face. Apart from the usual philosophical quandaries like ‘Who am I? What have I been put on this planet for and where do I go from here?’, there are the less intellectually stimulating but equally bothersome questions like ‘Am I in the right job?’ ‘Everyone is travelling including that dumbass who thought Spain was in Africa. Should I go too?’ ‘She’s fatter than me and she has a boyfriend! What’s wrong with me?’

They say growing up after adolescence is just coasting away on cruise control, but what is the misery of a few zits compared to the angst of trying to figure out where your life is going? The social network has kept us all wired in, but in a sense this has made it so much more difficult for our generation to make decisions. We are ultra-competitive and hyper-judgemental. Your friend getting a job at that big international firm? Stab to the brain. Your friend getting engaged to the love of her life? Stab to the heart. Your friend on a world trip? Stab to every dream you ever had. We punish ourselves in a myriad of ways. Overcome by the deluge of information about other peoples’ lives, we try to win a race we never even meant to be in. And in that, we lose the pursuit of happiness on the transit to the pursuit of ‘Everything-Everyone-Else-Has’.

You always dreamed of writing your own book. Instead you’re working at an IT giant crunching numbers and hoarding away money to your growing bank balance, because you’re going to be that person who makes his/her first million and buys that fancy car. You’re going to travel to Switzerland, although you can’t stand the cold because that’s where everyone goes. You don’t have a viable idea nor do you have any skills to back it up and yet, you want to start a startup because thats where the big bucks are. It is so easy to fall into this trap, and I find myself going there ever so often.

As hard as it can be, take the time  to learn about yourself; spend time looking inwards and not outwards. I’m your average over-thinker, and in all honesty, I should spend less time thinking and more time doing. I bug people all the time. ‘What do you want to do in life, tell me?!’ and I’m usually shut down with a ‘I donno man, chill na’. That’s where the trouble starts because it is so very important to know your own goals, another reason why being 20 something sucks. Assuming a life expectancy of 75, you’ve only lived about 25% of your life. So you’re supposed to make a decision about the remaining 75% with this little experience? That’s like writing a test having studied a quarter of the syllabus. It scares the shit out of me. But that’s how it works.

So think about what makes you happy and fulfilled. Those all-important milestones you want to hit. Write them down. Tattoo them on your forehead. Every time you find yourself doing something, be it a trip abroad or a major career change, ask yourself ‘Is this going to help me reach my goal?’ and then go ahead with it. For instance, if your aim is to work for a major Indian firm and settle down here then going to a business school in Europe for the glamour of it is a poor decision. Looking at pictures thinking, ‘Ah this guy is partying with firangs so even I’m going to go’ is probably a bad idea. On the other hand, if your main goal is to travel and to meet new people (with job considerations low on your list of priorities) then go to business school in Timbuktu if it pleases you.

The point of the rant is this. I’d like to remind myself and everyone who needs a reminder that we only get one shot at doing this, and we need to try to get it right. The ‘peer-pressure’ we experienced as teens to dress a certain way was a joke compared to what we have to deal with now. Our parents bore the brunt of our younger teen-y scream-y versions, but now we have no else to push the blame on. Regardless, no amount of gloominess can cloud the fact that these are by far the most exciting times of our lives and there is no where else I’d rather be.

EDIT: If you liked this, then you might possibly like this as well. Happy reading.

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49 thoughts on “Europe? Hot Girlfriend? Job at Google?

  1. Pingback: Europe? Hot Girlfriend? Job at Google? | ashwinnair3691
  2. Hahahahahah! Commencing tatooing to forehead.

    Nicely written and the thoughts of a lost generation succinctly captured. These ARE exciting times.
    “May you live in interesting times.” – goes the saying in Discworld, by Terry Pratchett. It’s supposed to be a curse, not a fond farewell.
    We live in interesting, complex times, and this post’s a great effort at documenting that.
    Here’s to rediscovering what makes us happy; despite the preconceived notions society tries to dump on us :).

    Cheers and keep writing awesome stuff.

  3. Pingback: Battle with the Subscribe Button and Opening the Floodgates of Internet Money | Goan Flavour
    • Oh! I’m definitely going to read that and get back to you 🙂 Well it’s interesting that you should ask me that. Some misogyny here, but usually the emphasis is on having a hot girlfriend as opposed to say a caring boyfriend. But honestly, I didn’t give it that much thought, just instinct I suppose.

  4. Great piece. I honestly came here via a page called “Aap Dude Hain” on facebook which we associate for what we fondly called ‘timepass’
    I agree, writing down what we want really helps, or so it seems, well at least I have it on my blog just to remind myself. The overload of information that most others living the ‘perfect’ lives while oneself being nowhere is But in the end, happiness is what counts, just hoping that is realized soon enough 🙂

    Cheers (from another being popped out at ’92) and keep writing!

    P.S. the other linked post is great too, and I’m a big lover of GoT/ASOIAF among other stuff 😀

  5. damn.. feels like you read my mind.. this is exactly what has been happening with me since a last couple of days. i am preparing for cat and one of my friends got in iim-rohtak last year. And she was like- life is very hectic here., assignments.. case studies blah blah.. i even checked out some of the startups on a website and i was like “why the fuck did i waste my college years when i could have easily put them to better use..” ,, but fortunately that feeling has subsided.. 🙂 .. and yeah very nicely written.. 🙂

    • Aaah, I know our friends have our best interests at heart but they’re the ones with the maximum potential to make our self-esteem go down the toilet. It’s a pretty powerful position to put someone in, but that’s how it works. You’ve just got to try and listen with a measured ear absorbing the good and rejecting the bad and ultimately making your own independent choices.

      I hope everything works out for you.

  6. A brilliant read !

    Problem in life is not lack of signal but too much noise. 99% of it is created by us in our head, which looks like what you just described. in case one is able to shun any percentage of it, suddenly goals, actual wants, passion/s come out clear.

    we are socially programmed to live life in a certain way, there is no point fighting it in parts, you have to opt out of the program completely.

    “The ‘peer-pressure’ we experienced as teens to dress a certain way was a joke compared to what we have to deal with now.”
    This is so true not only in early twenties but at every level in life, each more daunting than the previous one. you need to keep thinking, iterating, observing introspecting, in short keep kicking yourself hard every time peer-pressure gets to you.

    • “Problem in life is not lack of signal but too much noise”. As an Electronics Engineer, I have to say I loved that line! It’s interesting that you say this problem will be prevalent for the rest of our lives and not just now, in our twenties. I hadn’t thought that far ahead, but I always felt like the older we get, the closer we’ll get to enlightenment. Or something like that.

      But knowing how ‘growing up’ works, I hardly think it’s going to be that easy, so you’re definitely right.

  7. Why does it feel like I’ve done all of those. Hmmmm. “So you’re supposed to make a decision about the remaining 75% with this little experience?” spot on about that.. Major time you have screw ups is because you don’t know what to do, or there’s poor planning involved. It’s the competition that makes you compare,whether you want or not,You know? Like this post ,it doesn’t make excuses at all. You put the thoughts that all of us feel very well,could relate to it.

  8. You have got an eye grabbing title.Europe Hot Girlfriend Google .All in one line !

    On a serious note .Impressive stuff!

      • Yes You did fool them into reading .But after reading this i doubt no one would be disappointed 😉 🙂

        People often tend to think in a manner “This guy is doing this .He must have thought something about it .Lets simply follow him.Saves me a lot of thing.Woopie” . Due to the lack of experience(25%) and fear of failing , people tend to follow the mob so that they ll atleast not be laughed at , if they fail .

  9. “if your aim is to work for a major Indian firm and settle down here then going to a business school in Europe for the glamour of it is a poor decision”, High five!

    But you know what? There are a lot of guys who don’t have any career goals, just lonely wanderers so going with the flow does help sometimes, doing crazy new things helps people find their inner selves which in other terms can lead to finding one’s goal!

    • That’s true. I mean a lot of self-discovery comes from being lost. But, if you want to avoid going there in the first place then I’d suggest going with a solid plan. But if you don’t have one, then going with the flow is the best thing you can do!

  10. I couldn’t agree with you more! I am almost officially in my late 20’s and it has taken me this long to finally stop caring about what everyone else is doing. I am ready to embrace this exciting time in my life, and I wish you the best in your journey as well! Keep ranting 🙂

  11. Pingback: Mujhse Fraandship Karoge and Other Inconvenient Truths | Quixotic Semiotic
  12. This reply is meant to be a comment on what you wrote down here.
    This is written from an abstract point of view, I hope you can relate.

    Para 1:
    Here you talk about two kind of questions. First one is the “who am I?”; the quest which will help you find yourself. Everything that is a part of this search involves just you, an individual. The second one is the outward search. This would involve all the facets involving your interaction and conduct with others, including all your friendships, family and professional life.

    Para 2 & 3:
    This would be your rant on how everyone around you is merely going around in loops in the context of that outward search.

    Para 4:
    I like the way you have put up that conversation with a friend.
    And then you write “So you’re supposed to make a decision about the remaining 75% with this little experience? That’s like writing a test having studied a quarter of the syllabus. It scares the shit out of me. But that’s how it works.” That is not how it works. Every decision you take has an impact on your life. Life is fragile in nature; and if all your search is towards an aim to maximize (pleasure~happiness~that thing you want all the time) in the long run, you could probably end up taking decisions in the present that would slow you down instead or would rather throw you off on a different track.
    The clarity you seek would help you take the right decisions in present, that would contribute in a accumulative way to who you are, lets say x years down the line. (x >=< 'Time you are left with').

    The point is, in the beginning of the paragraph; you urge to spend time looking inwards. In the end, your confusion takes the toll of original concept in a sense. I believe time is a concept you would need to let go in an inward search. So, this para is kind of confusing.

    Para 5:
    This para is mostly focussed on the outward search. At least all the examples and analogies in this para are.

    Para 6:
    Well, I would be with you on this.
    One of the most fulfilling clarities for me has been that I am solely accountable for everything I do and everything I want to be.
    And this reminds me of a few lines from a poem called Invictus 'I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.'

    The article on a whole conveys the confusion of a man who is thrown in the individualistic and collectivistic waters both at once. One who constantly comes across a dead end and then thinks to himself about the decisions he needs to make. For, if he chooses a path A ; he would have taken a path that is ' right' in all aspects to his friends, family and everyone else. And while standing there, he sees a path B. The road less travelled but entirely built on what the individual perceives to be 'right'. But if you travel this path, you can travel it only alone.
    Then there are others, who start digging their paths if they cannot find the one they want.

    Hope I was able to add something here, you did the same.

    • I’m so amazed and flattered that you thought it worth your time to look so deeply into my post. I wrote it in one go, and it came from the bottom of my confused heart. I think you spotted all the conflicts very accurately, even ones I didn’t really realize were there.

      You made me think a little more and that can never, ever be a bad thing. Thank you so much for that. Also, you should consider being a shrink. 😛

      • I wrote the feedback in one go as well, so some points could have been a bit over the top in your context. I found some inconsistencies in the text, and to convey those I interpreted the article from a different point of view. I believe consistency and clarity is required in any piece of communication to convey an idea powerfully, I hope the feedback can add a tiny bit of clarity to your thought process.
        A shrink you say? 😀
        Let me psychoanalyze some more friends today and demand a fee on that. Sounds like a plan.

  13. It’s actually scary how one’s thoughts can resonate with someone else’s. All along whilst reading this article, it was as if I was talking to myself, rather than reading a piece of text written by someone else. Needless to say, food for thought.

    Kudos!

  14. Brilliant post. Not because of your suggestions to overcome the dark ages but because it perfectly echoes the thoughts, confusions and dilemmas of a lot of people in their early 20s (including myself). The first half of the post describing our thoughts could not have been put in a better way! I’m sure most 20s folks reading this would be like ‘Wow, that’s me!’

  15. I had gone thru all these feelings, to the point that: even if you discover a major thing in life.. no one is going to remember you after a few generations. So what is the meaning of achieving something.

    Needless to say.. i’m still in the position you had described above; infact talked to a friend from college today, and we were cribbling about avg grade guys being in a foreign country.

    GOD knows when i will be out of this self pity !!

    • I struggle with a lot of those questions too, but I think in the end the important thing is that you are happy. I do want to leave a mark on the world, but who defines how or what that mark is? If I’m able to share my blessings and love and enrich other peoples’ lives with mine, then that is a considerable achievement too.

      Achievement only has meaning when you are satisfied with it. No amount of validation in the world can make you happy otherwise.

      Just take all the anger and the frustration and try to put it somewhere productive. Wallowing in self-pity is good for the soul once in a while, but to do anything you have to get out of it first! Good luck with everything.

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