Go with the Flow : Shubhra

I am a gal who plays many roles at a time in my life. Let me sum it up for you as best I can. As my social media bio explains – I’m a Solo Nomad, an explorer, adventurous, Certified yoga instructor, an amateur illustrator, photographer, a sports person, passionate trekker, can also ‘cook’, have an OCD to keep things organized, love doodling or spending time in my little balcony jungle and creating stuff out of junk…and last not the least has worked in corporate life for many years for living to understand how the world works;) so yes jack of many traits. I know this probably sounds like bragging, yes it is a little. But what can I say, I’m proud to be what I am today. And I want you all to know a little more about my life: I am living my dream fully to leave no regrets for later. I’m that cliche “ordinary girl on an extraordinary journey” if one is allowed to say her own life is extraordinary at this juncture. I am not a pseudo-feminist but yes I love women like me who are much stronger than men around and love to take full charge of their lives on their terms. 

So two months ago I turned 40..yaaay!!!!! I touched the golden middle age number finally. Don’t know if age has anything to do with activities, I have been involved in.

I was scrolling through my LinkedIn timeline for a change after a long time felt as if I am lagging behind my peers and people around me in terms of my career growth. Most of them either got promotions or got placed in some big corporate with fancy titles, It made me feel for a moment that I failed along the way since I feel I am not there where possible I would have been with the kind of work have done over the years. It took me a moment to shake the feeling, and realize that even though my career has not taken me where I could have been but the experiences I have gained over the years are worth cherishing in this lifetime.

To all my friends and connections who are kicking their ass in their careers..hats off to all of you!! Big congratulations on where and what all you have achieved. I cannot wait to see what next you guys will achieve, really you guys have incredible careers and I celebrate your achievements.

But this article today is not about that but to celebrate people like me, who don’t have a perfect track record in careers. I am one of those who was not afraid to leave jobs when I have had no backup plan or join such companies at a time when they were going through a crisis or left career growth for sake of personal life and move to a completely unknown territory where I had to start everything from scratch… I took that challenge up on me to see how far I can go and how will I make my current circumstances favorable to prove my potential. I celebrate everyone who is like me who live for their passion or quit that toxic work environment ( frankly I was one of those fortunate ones to work with some of the best companies or people – so no complaints, but toxic here I meant by the work which was possibly not part of the passion but was just a mean to fulfill those passions) because I or people like me value mental health/ satisfaction over other things… Those like me took the leap to find themselves and explore what this earth has to offer. People like me who are explorers take the time to redesign their careers, new hobbies, or study new things just for the sheer curiosity of it. 

At 40 I am blessed to have had the opportunity to hike at high altitudes @5000-6000 Mts, learn advanced yoga, work as a volunteer teacher in the remotest areas of the Himalayas, be an active environmentalist and a helping hand and voice in animal welfare, and a speaker in many events to help kids who are seeking guidance in alternate career streams and last, not the least meeting some of the most interesting people along the way…My list is endless what all I manage to earn in the last few years.

Today I have realized your CV does not define you or your future, It does not define your worth, instead what your real-life experiences do. Remember you are exactly where you need to be, keep learning and growing and you’ll get where you need to go. 

But this was NOT always the case. I’d not like to pretend that this has always been the course of my life. It’s embarrassing sometimes to open up about your past and your failures. But I’m hoping that if I do, maybe someone out there will feel some encouragement, depending upon where you are in life. To put this in perspective few things I’ve learned while being on my adventure and now my life mantra for those who are seeking this wisdom :

1. Move with the flow of life, not against it.

Life is full of opportunities. Don’t let them pass you by simply because they aren’t the opportunities you thought you wanted. We don’t always know what direction our life will go. I think it can be wise to try anything that comes your way, especially when you are young and trying to “figure it all out” (Spoiler: You won’t. Life is never that simple). Don’t set your heart on achieving one thing, only one specific way, in order to feel happy and accomplished. An amazing opportunity disguised as a mundane option may come your way tomorrow; don’t miss it.

2. Dreams don’t have to die, keep working at it, there is never too late for anything. Embrace the changes as it comes.

Even before I moved home from Delhi to Bangalore I felt afraid to do so, even though a part of me wanted to, but changing your comfort base to new territory was making me feel nervous. I felt that if I turned my back on my career then I will lag behind my peers..which did happen initially but on the contrary, I learned new things and explored life in a different way which probably I wouldn’t have if continued to stay in Delhi.

Initially, I labeled myself as a failure to leave everything and move to a new location, but later with time, I realized, being a “failure” is just a label that you give yourself. we don’t need to box ourselves in as I did! It’s ok to change your dreams. It’s ok to pursue something else for a while if your current efforts don’t seem to be working. Embrace where your life seems to be headed, and forget the labels. Today when I’m pursuing all my passions and ticking all the boxes from my bucket list, I feel more empowered and alive. I forget about the time I lost while making the career that gives me happiness – ‘Travelling’ but I guess that part was important too to enjoy what I do today.

In short, one thing is clear, one should not kill their dreams thinking you are getting old to do what you could have done at a young age since there is no age bar to fulfill dreams… live every moment as it comes.

3. Remember when I asked what “perfect” is? It’s a very interesting question. Does perfect mean the ideal life and world that we have in our heads? Do we have an idea that we try to make the world conform to? Because that will likely never happen. Instead, try seeing the world as perfect the way it is. It’s messy, chaotic, painful, sad, dirty … and completely perfect. The world is beautiful, just as it is. Life is not something static, but a flow of change, never staying the same, always getting messier and more chaotic, always beautiful. There is beauty in everything around us if we look at it as perfect. That’s how I see life and probably that’s why I accept things the way it is and do not expect much in return.

These are a few things which I have imbibed long back in my life and probably I follow it religiously to be motivated and content with what I have..hope my life story, anecdotes, and adventures will hopefully entertain and make you smile, think, and also tell you to not take life too seriously. Make peace with your past decisions and continue life with grace and gratefulness for life. Let it be “go with the flow” or “swim to your desire”.You can either be happy with a “broken something” or sad with a “broken something”. That something will not fix it. But you can fix yourself:-)

Shared by : Shubhra Aggarwal

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