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Why I am going on a break, again!
I am starting to become suspicious of the summers. Not afraid. Just suspicious. Around the same time last year, I took a 2-month break from work as I was feeling immensely depressed having gone through the heart-wrenching second wave of COVID-19, just like countless others had to. I’ve written about how the break helped me find hope at that time here. Well, let’s see where we are after almost a year!
Let’s start with the good news, shall we? The biggest thing that I am grateful for is that I am no longer going through depression. I only have the people in my life to thank for that - the ones who’ve stuck by me through thick and thin for the last many years - my family and my friends. They’ve tolerated me at my worst yet continue to be a mirror into everything about me which I tend to overlook while obsessing too much about my weaknesses.
I’ve gotten the opportunity to gain a lot of confidence on a range of skills that I care about, from being able to build things to asking the right questions. I’ve been able to become more consistent with my workouts and meditation, no longer having to rely on the dopamine hit from Instagram to keep me at it.
Yes, I track my meditation time. It’s one of those behaviour-change hacks. I like to see that number increase. And yes, of course, I could cheat and increase that number any day but the day I do that, the reward stops right there. And I want the reward to keep coming. So, no, I won’t do that.
If the post so far doesn’t resonate with the title, don’t worry, the post has just begun.
That pretty much as far as the good news goes. I am more confused than I have ever been. I am unable to make sense of what is really happening in the world. Every day, it seems like something or the other is going wrong in some part of the world. There are people who don’t have their very basic needs met like food, water, shelter, clothing, and sanitation and yet, we have a whole generation growing up fantacising the idea of living in the meta-worse. Billions of dollars along with the time, energy and intellectual capacity of some of the best minds in the world are being poured into an utterly useless industry meant to disconnect us from the real world, as if we aren’t already disconnected enough from each other and the world around us. As if social media in its current form hasn’t created enough problems already. Everyone is deeply invested in seeing which of the 7-8 food-delivery apps, who promise to get our groceries under 30 minutes, end up winning the race. Approximately 200 million people are undernourised in a country where 40% of the food produced is wasted. We want to stop students from entering colleges because of what they wear. We lynch people to death because of a difference in our religious beliefs. We have some of the best-quality learning content, agnostic of the subject/topic, that anyone before us ever had access to. Still, boredom is one of the most common feeling that many adults regularly go through and end up turning to Netflix (I am an occasional member of this group too). Climate change is making yet another attempt to get our attention - this time by causing one of the worst heatwaves that we have ever been through (and this is only going to increase). Our country ranks 10th from the bottom of the list of countries ranked by happiness.
If you’re still here after reading all that, let’s take a little break!
Got you! 😏
So, as you can probably understand, it doesn’t make sense to me why all of us aren’t working hands-down on solving these crises that we are going through. You can call me a pessimist but I am not able to pretend that everything is fine. I just cannot. Until we start talking about these problems, how can we start working on solving them. And, from a very privileged position, all I see is a ton of opportunity here for so many of us to find work that fulfils us while connecting us back to each other, our humanity and the world. Maybe I am being naïve here, but I fail to understand why are all of us not working towards building a better future for us to live in?
I keep going back to this iconic talk!
Irrespective of your views on Chamath, if you truly watch the video purely for the content, I am sure you’ll get something to take back out of it. At one point, he says, “Do you think the next big innovation is going to happen in food-delivery apps”. He emphasises on the need to work on really-hard problems, the kind of mindset that requires and if done successfully, that is where all the money lies.
In the past, I have rushed into what I’ve wanted to work on. And I am grateful for everything that I’ve learned through the experiences that I’ve gotten. A few months back, I jumped into starting a community focused on climate change in India. I had to step out of that role a few weeks into it because of something that happened on the personal front. But as I reflected on the time that I did get to spend doing that, I realised something important about myself. It dawned upon me that the kind of work that brings me joy must involve me sitting by myself in a state of flow. Interacting with people and brainstorming ideas is something I truly cherish but it shouldn’t take up more than 20% of my time. The ratios are completely flipped if you’re running a full-fledged community. Hence, even though I absolutely believe that community is key, I am simply not the right person to be responsible for running it.
Now, I don’t want to rush. I I want to take my time. I want to explore. I have an ever-growing list of things that I’ve always wanted to do. Everything that has made me curious (you can bet that reading tons of books is on that list). I want to create a solid base of understanding about the world and take any decision building upon the base that I establish. You’ll hear more about my explorations as I do them. I don’t want to overcommit and underdeliver.
I tend to lie on the side of the spectrum where I would want to be doing the kind of work where I wouldn’t feel the need to segregate it from my life. I don’t mean to say that I don’t want a balance. After having a prolonged taste of work-life balance, I value it so much that I can never let go of it. What I mean to say is that I would like to do something that is an extension of my own self and an expression of my thoughts, feelings and emotions. In that case, this break is also going to be a deep personal exploration into who I am, what I value, the kind of person I’ve been, the kind of person I want to be, the kind of people I want to have around me, how I’ve made decisions in the past, my favourite moments, the moments which have taught me the most, and a lot more. I want to break out of my comfort zone and take the road I have consciously chosen to not travel by. I have often let others define my self-worth, people who had no right to have so much power over me and my emotions. I want to reach a point where I have a solid foundation and understanding of who I am, a foundation that is hard to shake for anyone. A point where I only let in those who’ve put in the effort to deserve to be in my life and not give off the key as easily as I’ve been doing.
Wish me luck!
Here are some words that moved me. Until next time!