What do you want to do with your life? A question I am asked almost every second day, even by people who I didn’t know existed. It is particularly amazing to see that when it comes to giving career advice, you suddenly become family to the very person who had not even bothered to learn your name before. And the others, who actually wish you well, just have a sentence, follow your passion.
Okay, so passion it is. But what next? Often, when I try and introspect, I come up with a long list of things I am passionate about. So what to do? How can I do so many things at once? I cannot.
And the confusion persists.
Some of you might relate, especially here in India, society compels you to be a doctor or an engineer or a lawyer, because that is the only way you ever be able to earn respect and be happy. Really? My parents are doctors, and I don’t ever get the slightest feeling that they are happy. They are satisfied, I agree. They have two kids, are financially stable, have a good name and do what they can to keep their family well above the water. But are they happy?
They go the hospital at 2 a.m. in the night to attend to emergencies, come back in the morning , and then complain the entire day next day, as to how tired they are. When we go out, to dinner or a movie, there is always one or the other patient who has to be operated once we are back. And thanks to this, they can’t enjoy either the dinner, or the movie.
If you cannot have a good 8 hour sleep, or you cannot take out time for your family, without your phone buzzing every 30 seconds, what good is the money that you have?
Every second or third day, my mum and dad would ask me to sit with them, because apparently they feel that I am just too engrossed in studies. I would oblige, but then they would start talking about the new property they are seeing, or the patient that had this problem. or the relative who was not doing well. Now how am I supposed to participate in this conversation?
That is when I realize, that I will follow my passion, and not just the norms set by society, that I will take up photography and writing, I will pursue interior designing and not just get caught in this race to success.
But then, when I am writing something, or painting, everybody would be gathered around me, trying to see what I am doing, what am I writing, and how will it turn out to be? This often leads to fights, and my very nice mood before taking up that painting or write up, would be shattered into a million pieces.
And then I would feel that I don’t want to turn my passion into any sort of business. I would just end up frustrated and exhausted from my life, 40 years from now, and would be admitted in a hospital, thanking God that I can afford this world class treatment. I cannot even imagine such a thing.
So, what should I do?
I question all of you, who might have had the patience to reach up to here, are you what you had expected yourself to be? Is this version of yourself, the one you had created in your mind, as a child, sitting under the stars? Are you leading your life, the way you wanted it to be? Do you strive everyday to be the person you wanted yourself to be, or are you controlled and molded by the people around you? Are you happy, or you are still held by the confines of the society??