“I heard that you are writer, is it true?” A few days back, a young fellow in my co-working space came up for a friendly chat.
“Umm, I am trying to be,” I told him with a smile. I am still getting used to being called a writer.
“Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to be a writer?” He went on.
I fell silent for a few seconds. Nobody has ever asked me that question. I had never given much a thought about it either.
“Well, I used to write from my childhood. But, until recently, I didn’t know that I would do full-time writing.” I tried to assimilate my thoughts.
“So, when did it actually happen? Was there an incident or something, or was there a sign like, you wanted to become a writer,” Ok, I understood where he was getting at. This going to be a philosophic discussion, which by the way I love.
“There was no epiphany as such. I cannot pin point any specific incident,” I said.
“Don’t get me wrong, but aren’t you worried about all those years that you have lost? If you had started earlier, you could have advanced in the race,” He was genuinely concerned.
” So, why do you think that I have lost all these years?” I asked him a counter question.
He was a bit nervous. I think he thought that I took offence in his question.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. I ask this because, I want to do something different. I don’t want to do this job forever. But, I have no clue what I want to do in my life. But I am worried that I would be losing time. By the time I experiment different things and finally find my passion, wouldn’t it be late? If I get married and have kids, will I be trapped forever? So, what should I do? Not get into any commitments? keep myself free? What should I do?” Once he started, his desperation started flowing like a river. I let it.
“How old are you?” I asked him. I knew he couldn’t be more than 23.
“I am 22 now. I am working in this start-up for almost a year. But, I don’t think I belong here. I don’t think it is my thing,” He reminded me of myself around 10 years ago.
I took a deep breath. I knew what to tell him. But, I was not sure if I would be able to convey it clearly, without further depressing the fellow.
“Have you seen a river from a flight? from up above the sky? Their course is never straight. It takes weird turns. Looking from up, you find it almost ridiculous. Life’s just like that River. You cannot live your life with pre-conditions. You cannot tell yourself that “I should find my passion before I turn 24,” You can of course try. but, you cannot make it a mandate.When you have pre-conditions in life, it’s like you are diverting the River from it’s natural course.” I stopped to see if the fellow has fallen asleep. He hadn’t.
“You can always look for your passion. But it doesn’t mean that you pause your life until you find it. You let it flow. It might take ridiculous turns and twists. It might make you go in weird ways. You even feel that you are running around, chasing shadows. But the most important thing is, you have to keep your life open – to experiences, to people and to places. But, you might think that it would deviate you from your path .
But, it doesn’t work that way. Everyone has an inbuilt radar, which clearly says where you want to go. It tells you want you want to do and what you don’t want to do. But the problem with most people is: they just suppress this radar. It might be for various reasons. You must let your life flow, but you should listen to your intuition. Sometimes, you might feel that your intuition is just bullshit. It doesn’t culminate into anything. It makes you do stupid things. It makes you look ridiculous. It drag you down the rat race. But only your intuition knows where you eventually want to go.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you want to do outright. You would eventually will, if you let your intuition drive you. When you have found out what you want to do, there is no question of disappointment about the years that you have lost. Because, for you, it isn’t anymore a competition. It isn’t something you want to prove to others. When you have found your “thing”, you just spend the rest of your life doing it. You make a living out of it or not, you become a success or not, you outrun others or not – everything becomes secondary. When you have found your passion, all that matters is just doing it. You just want to do it for the rest of your life- day in and day out,”
I looked at him, but he was lost in thoughts.
“Thank you,” He smiled and walked away. I didn’t know if I make any sense to him. I am not sure, if anyone who hasn’t actually experienced it can make any sense out of it.
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