Everybody needs challenges and its very personal

Most people in my family or amongst my relatives and many even amongst my old friends do not understand what am I doing with my life. After all the hard work of years – studying hard, clearing exams, getting through IIT and IIM, having a Computer Science+MBA degree, why would I not want to “settle down”? Why am I slogging through a start-up with and an uncertain financial future? Most people think I have lost my mind. The most sympathetic amongst them said, “There is a very thin line between being a genius and being crazy… She might be walking on that thin line.”

I have never had a good answer for them. Passion, dreams, independence, thrill of creating something new – none of it makes enough sense somehow. So, today I am going to try explaining this with an analogy.

All the people who do not understand why I would not just “settle down” have been seen being ready to give their lives over of one or more of the following things.

  • Finding suitable matches for the marriageable girls and boys in their family, for their relatives, neighbours, relatives of neighbours, neighbours of relatives, neighbours of neighbours, relatives of relatives and so on…
  • Ensuring that they always treat their sensitive relationships (in-laws of sister/brother/son/daughter/nephews/nieces, son-in-laws of their own/their brothers/their sisters/all other relatives’ – in a nut shell in-laws and son-in-laws of the entire extended family) in a manner befitting the importance of such relationships. Never should they feel let down by the hospitality, showering of respect and gifts, value of gifts and so on…
  • Celebrating all festivals in its full glory, cooking the prescribed dishes, performing the prescribed rituals…
  • (Mostly for women) Performing all the difficult fastings intended for the long age of the husband/children without fail, year after year…
  • etc…

Life is complicated with all of this for them. Its a challenge – every festival, every fasting, every marriageable son/daughter in the extended family, every visit by a “sensitive” relative… And every time they get through any of these successfully, there is a sense of relief and achievement. Subtly or sometimes not so subtly, they will boast about their success. Others will also appreciate and envy them for these successes.

As far as a job and career is concerned the intelligent thing to do, according to them, is to get the best you can and then stick to it and try and progress with it. Work for the next promotion or the next raise. If it does not come, there is always a next time. If working in a modern economy industry, look for a job change at suitable intervals. They are settled down. They don’t go around doing crazy/innovative things with their jobs and careers.

They have their challenges and they have their area for “settling down”.

Cut to my perspective.

As far as I am concerned, the intelligent things for me to do are

  • To love and respect all my relatives and friends so long as they do not try to take unnecessary advantage of me
  • Participate in their happiness and mournings, help them when needed and when I can, but not interfere in their lives – definitely not fret about marrying people off . Happily attend any weddings so long as it can be done without burdening myself down with heavy jewelry.
  • Enjoy the festivals. Even conduct some rituals for fun, when they are not too difficult, but never take them seriously. They are dispensable, when other important things are waiting.
  • Never give in to the idea that even the most difficult of the fasts could do anything to increase the life span of my loved ones!

You know what! I am pretty “settled down” in all of these. I don’t need to think of each of these as a challenge to be met with and conquered.

But I have my own challenges. My challenge is in my career, in what I do with my professional life, in my entrepreneurial dreams, in trying to create something from scratch.

So, ultimately me and them are not really so different. Without challenges life would be boring. We all need challenges. Let me repeat, we all need challenges. I have selected my challenge, which is different from the challenges they have selected. Individual personality and individual circumstances will have a role to play in that selection, but with this viewpoint, hopefully it starts making more sense as to why would I not just settle down!

They don’t give up on their festivals and fastings and poojas in their search for peace and God. I don’t give up experimenting with my career in my search for my calling in life. We are the same!

This entry was posted in Thoughts by Jaya. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jaya

Jaya Jha is an entrepreneur, a techie, a writer and a poet. She was born and brought up in various towns of Bihar and Jharkhand. A graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow, she realized early on that the corporate world was not her cup of tea. In 2008, she started Pothi.com, one of the first print-on-demand publishing platform in India. She currently lives in Bangalore and divides her time between writing and working on her company's latest product InstaScribe (http://instascribe.com) with a vision to make it the best e-book creation tool. Blog: https://jayajha.wordpress.com Twitter: @jayajha Facebook: http://facebook.com/MovingOnTheBook

8 thoughts on “Everybody needs challenges and its very personal

  1. Gr8… U seems very adventurous. Read the autobiography of richard branson. Everytime he gets succesful in one business venture, he jumps into another. Because he likes adventures, he likes challenges…

  2. I think you are getting unnecessarily irratated by people who do not know any better. My family members keep telling me that Infosys is the best software company on the face of the planet. I mock them, confuse them, irritate them and finally ignore them. No use arguing. Live your own life!

  3. The urge to settle down with a mate, children, family, friends and rituals AND the desire to explore unchartered territories, take new challenges, carve out something different etc, are two different human traits. Both are product of a million years of evoltion in human beings, but surely the 2 are distinct. Most people tend to be ordinary and tend to have both desires, but most likely the desire to ‘settle down’ is more primal, ordinary and much much more common. Most people are not marco polos of the world.

    If your decision of not to ‘settle down’ is because you simply don’t have that urge enough or you’re your other urge is overwhelming, there no additional justification needed.

    My problem is that so many people now tend postpone this coneventional ‘settling down’, not because they are breaking new grounds all the time, or breaking away from coventional norms, but actually because they are forced to conform to societal and peer pressure to be a winner in the rat race.

    Far from breaking away from convention this is falling into a new norm which far more damaging than the norm of our grand fathers generation who were married before they understood that humans can mate.

  4. How I wish I could make my family understand why I can no longer work in a MNC and why I need to do things that I want to do.

    I know what you are saying, probably the meaning of Settled has changed over generations and this is one of the things that would go on to describe generation gap

  5. I agree with your opinion that people around you should not bother you to settle down. You have already attained a level where you know the best about yourself. We know you are happy with your challenges. Actually there are only few people who are so passionate about their challenges in life that they really don’t need to follow the rule of settle down. Like A P J Sb is one the happiest and satisfied person. Settle Down is not a compulsion these days. Even in Islam marriage is not a FARZ (necessary) activity.

    Every one in this world has its own challenges, but most of the person don’t know what they like to do. So they follow the rule of their society. So its an obvious question which people will ask you. Kindly ignore them. The social scenario has changed a lot for last 2 decades. Earlier the situation was really different, now neither family nor society can oblige any one to follow it.

    I know you well. You have a goal which is more important than settle down. But Settle down does not mean that anyone will not run behing their dream. Its also a challenge to achieve our goal with our social life. This challenge has been faced by our Parent and they successfully did it.Their continous support is the key reason that we have reached at this position. So should we settle down because our Parent. No, the decison should not be taken on it. There are many A P J Sb who has the same level of success with their family life.

    We are educated enough to take a decision. We can not say which is right or wrong. It totally depends on the priority of individual. There is stages of life when we have different challenges. Generally poeply has a view that settle down is a burden. The GEN NEXT thinks its generation gap. Why don’t we make our mate, family, sciety as a part of our challenges, our aim, our goal, our journey. Every one will help us. Is it not better to grow with a team of our own? This generation thinks that to have their family as a part of their journey is an obstacle. But believe me, if we convince them with our positive attitude and our perormance we will win. If our family has cared since we are in this world, then why they will not be happy to be a part our journey. I know there may be few issue, but it can be resolved out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s