The evolution of man has been a rather interesting journey. How we evolved from climbing trees and to hunting for our own food and finally creating a life around our evolved selves. We became Homo sapiens. Years passed by and man became a creature of habit.
In an Indian household, evolution process for the past 50 years has been pretty generic. A well- settled job, a spouse, having kids, bringing them up, educating them, getting them married and cycle continues. These are the values and principles instilled in us and generations are formed. So to summarise:
One should have a proper education by 21 followed by a well-settled job.
Post graduation (optional) by 23.
Get married by 26 max
Produce offsprings by 28
And continue the cycle…
But of course these are old school teachings, majority of the Indians today, fail to follow this timeline as the ambitions of life are changing for everyone. But I have always been a sucker for the old school. I have always been fascinated with the fact as to how the people and their mindsets were when my parents were growing up. And so this is the timeline that stuck with me. So I aimed for such a life.
Today I am 23 and I am nowhere close this and it makes me anxious. VERY. VERY anxious. So much so that today I woke up to something I am pretty sure was an anxiety attack. I dreamt of being left behind a train, train on the apparent right direction.
But what is the right direction? Who is on this train?
Then I went back and I realised that I was pressurising myself to follow a timeline that was clearly not mine. Just because this timeline “stuck” with me, didn’t mean it had to be mine. When I was 18, I knew I loved science and I was determined to study it. Therefore, I ended up doing engineering for the most part I loved it but there were days when I absolutely hated it. I was sure then that I would end up doing masters almost immediately after my engineering but as I reached the penultimate year, I thought is it really what I wanted? Took me a year to figure that it wasn’t my cup of tea and temporarily held off on that idea. In the mean time, I was handed an opportunity to work in the field of Environment and till date, I think of it as my blessing in disguise. This job, has been soul satisfying and has given so much opportunity to learn and I enjoy going to work every single day. This is my well settled job. But really what is a well settled job? Is it earning an insane amount of money and have zero to mediocre job satisfaction or is it having ample job satisfaction with almost negligent financial security? In this case, for me, it is the latter. Which is why the thought of moving on comes into the picture.
I know what I am passionate about, I understand what gives me the joy to work. But having financial security is something we all seek for and that is what I want for myself as well. So is there a timeline to decide when is the right time to make the move? I guess not. I don’t know when would the correct time to step out of my current comfort zone and explore something that would be to my liking.
This ambiguity causes anxiety not only in me, but millions like me. What is the meaning of well settled? What is the meaning of being successful? Is financial stability enough making it through the day? Am I too old to pursue my dreams? Ughh.. too much pressure. Just stop. Stop for one second take a deep breath and visualise your future. What do you see? Ask yourself, paint your own picture. Stop focussing on all the things that could happen to you and focus on what can happen. It is your own hands to change your destiny. There is no set timeline or age that define your actions.
Be your own self, take your own time. Trust your destiny and work towards it. Don’t make a timeline for yourself just because you saw it work on someone else. It is your life, you get to decide what is the right time.