I have always been the type to work nonstop. Even back in college, I would relentlessly try to fill in hours with school and org work. So when I left my first job at a publishing industry almost four years ago, I found myself in an unfamiliar situation. It was a weird stage to be in— not knowing what to do or where to go. It was a confusing, gruelling, frustrating four weeks of running around, wondering what to do, and figuring out how to move forward. For a moment, I felt hopeless. And then I let it be.
Looking back now, I am more than thankful for finding work that was different from my first job. Although there are a lot of similarities, it was a welcome change to my life. I branded myself a writer, but I realized that I was not prepared for what writing for Marketing really was. I called myself an artist, but then my type appreciated a completely different form. Everything did make sense when finally, I learned the basic ropes of the industry and pushed myself to immerse in startups. I embraced it for all that it was and was not.
For a time, I did not have any set deliverables, so I took it upon myself to dive into the world of the geniuses. I read countless pages and studies, trying to understand risk and management. It was almost automatic. I arrived at work, opened my laptop and started reading. I wrote articles based on whatever I read for the day, and proceeded to learn the next chapter. I read up on communication models from college, studied the life of CEOs, and tried to put into words the inspiration I got.
The feeling was exhilarating. I was hungry. I was so hungry that I felt foolish. I was mad. My bookmarks bar contained a staple of five websites that I required myself to scour through every single day. I read a minimum of ten articles daily, on top of all the videos and physical books lying around. Time afforded me just that. It was a conscious effort, a choice, a direction I chose to lead.
I looked up to Sheryl Sandberg, Ed Catmull, Arianna Huffington, Larry Page, Marissa Mayer and Sophia Amoruso. The inspiration and motivation that these people were bringing to my life were overflowing and apparent. I wanted to change the world as much as they did. My whole world revolved around this idea, this crazy mission to change something I was not even aware of yet.
But then there was a shift. The same time that allowed me to do so was now reminding me that there were other things I had to focus on. So I let it. I found myself occasionally reading through the same pages, but I stopped writing about it. Of course I had to work on other things, so I did. Make no mistake, I am not hoping to go back to that stage in my life. If anything, I’m looking forward to the next phase where I will regain that same foolishness, in whatever form it may be.
Here’s the reality: work is going to occupy a huge chunk of your life. The only way to embrace work is to find that one thing you value and love the most, and dedicate all your efforts to nurturing it. If you haven’t found it yet, don’t stop looking. Never settle for what’s near or comfortable. This is the same thing I remind myself whenever I find myself falling short on a lot of areas. I want to be foolish again. I want to be foolish enough to expose myself to fear and overcome. I fear a lot of things, and I know how I have limited myself to a corner, hoping things will stabilize naturally.
A lot of people have called me extreme in a lot of things. It’s as if I don’t know how to mellow in certain areas of my life. It makes a lot of sense that the reason behind this is because I control particular things too much, that I end up wanting to lose control with the others. I don’t intend to lose that part of myself. I want to be extremely invested. I want to be extremely attached. I want to be extremely foolish for things I know I should be running after.
I want to be foolish enough to feel that exact same feeling almost four years ago— lost, but intentional in finding the path towards the extreme change I long for. Five years from now, I will turn 30. And by then, I hope to be more foolish than I will ever be. I look forward to it everyday.
How wild it is, to just let it be.