Monday, September 26, 2022

One of the big reasons for picking up the bass at 15-16 was pretty much avoiding a 9-5 life.

I was certain and sure about the large fact that I didn't want to do what my dad or grandfather did, professionally. Although, to be honest, and fair, it was more like I didn't know what to do and in the process of arriving at a conclusion, I began eliminating options. 

The first elimination was a desk job. My dad was doing one at the time, my grandfather had done one all his life, and I? I was a little too cool for my own head and self. Not that I had any idea about figuring a source of income consistently but I somehow knew, "9-5" wasn't cool

That notion of coolness at 16 ruined the next decade and a half for me. Well, ruin is a big word so let's just say, in order to be cool, I decided to go ham at whatever life threw my way.

You see, as the first child of the house, not only are your parents just as invested in your life, you are pretty much hanging by the first dumb idea you conceive. In going forth with it, you wing it and convince everyone around you to play with it. 

So I did what had to be done, made an academic plan and stuck to it. To a large extent, that worked. It paid off in a way of making me culturally sound and aware and at 31, when I look back at the time, I was a little too cool for my own good. All of it was in my head anyway and to be fair to my 22-year-old self, I was doing well. 

Problems began professionally. The roadmap I had carved to be a wild child magazine editor didn't work cause life isn't a fucking rom-com and Delhi is not New York, giving a 22-year-old opportunity to play the bass in the evening and work as an editor-in-chief in the day. It was also all my fault to disregard the idea of 9-5. 

In the past two years of running amok as a freelancer and essentially, living that 16-year-old self's dream to scratch the itch of not following a 9-5 desk job outfit, I realised the flaws in the plan. Did I tell my 16-year-old self it was stupid? No. But it's also entirely on me, to choose to take a 16-year-old version of myself this seriously that I based my whole fucking life around it. 

At 30, I found myself in therapy, telling the expert on the other side of the screen about the lack of structure throwing me off, sharing my insecurities of growing out from a disciplined individual to going all out ham on my own self. I learned to take breaks, to appreciate the beauty in rest, to accept the failures and especially mine on the professional front. I don't think I ever chased a professional roadmap for myself. It was always about my growth as an individual and in doing that, I was left far behind professionally. In a way, what I did with academia, should have somehow transferred to professional life but it never happened. I was too busy collating cool things and acquiring cool experiences and hanging out at cool spots with cool friends while being mega uncool about my professional life. 

To be completely fair to the situation, I had also never experienced what it was like to be on the other side; when you do indeed get an engineering degree or a marketing degree what does it look like? I had been rolling around with gigs in the arts and culture space, which is typically notorious for exploitative practices and poor payments; all of which I had wholeheartedly embraced. I didn't think I'd get a second shot at life. 

Three months into this new lease of life, I feel like I've settled into the routine. Things that seemed too far fetch are normal. I am no longer a starry-eyed 16-year-old who's finally learning what the 9-5 could potentially look like when the chips align and you get to do what you have wanted to do all your life. Okay, to be fair, I'm not sure if what I'm doing exactly qualifies as what I wanted to do at 16, but again, I'm still clueless. At 31, I find myself still wondering, if this is what I want to do all my life. The good thing is, I'm not screaming, crying, or throwing up at the prospect. If I had to do this all my life, would I mind it? Not one bit. I like what I do, which is a rarity if you're me. I don't think I have been in this space since I was 18, a space that I worked so hard to be in that every minute within it seems rewarding. Trauma shapes experiences and this part of my life is all about working hard and giving my whole youthful exuberance to building what I'm hired to do. 

I'm so grateful to be here. I'm fucking thrilled to be alive and be given this opportunity. Sometimes, it feels like a dream. 

I used to tell my therapist that back in the day even when everything was going wrong and life looked bleak, holding on to my day job gave me a sense of anchoring my life to the shore. We are back at it and even on the worst days and nights, the purpose to go to bed and wake up has been defined and I couldn't be happier. 

I fucking love a 9-5. I won't be anything without this. 

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