I will be 20 this July, and this is the last year of my college, and for all the obvious reasons, I am often really confused about what I want to become, what I want to do, what comes next. I suddenly have this feeling or say sense of responsibility and expectations that every decision I make at this point, would be impacting the next 2–3 years of my life. It does make complete sense that even if I fail, I would still have the time and vigor to bring things back on track, but honestly, I felt this fear not once but myriad times.
It’s only recently that I stumbled upon this quote by Stephen Fry -
Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it — that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing — an actor, a writer — I am a person who does things — I write, I act — and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.
This quote made me re-think and re-evaluate the notions about work, job, and career in the current societal scenario. If you ask someone what they love, they’ll probably give you more than one answers, however, the world has been telling us that you’re supposed to pick only one. Perhaps this is not how things really work. If you leave something you love doing, you’re sure to have a sense of regret, one day or another. Thus, don’t discard, don’t cut off anything you love. Find out a way to keep all these things in the mix, and you’ll see how they’ll start communicating with each other, adding to the overall, and you’ll experience something unique and powerful.
We are all in an infinite evolutionary process, and that infiniteness can’t possibly be made to fit in a noun. The best of the people that we have ever seen, and the best of the works that we have ever witnessed, were not done in the pursuit of making an earning or to become like someone famous. They never chased the noun, they didn’t drive themselves crazy planning, plotting, and structuring their work to the point of not enjoying it. None of us are actors, teachers, writers, climbers, or paleontologists to the core, we are much more than that. Here’s what Steven Tomlinson has said:
“You don’t need a career, you need a calling. And right now, you’re listening.”
In the retrospect, the lesson I have learned is that you don’t need to be the one, or choose a single thread to follow in your life. We are defined by what we love doing, and it’s the mix of all our passions at work that makes us infinite. We are not Nouns, we are verbs. Life is about doing, and let’s do this with wholeheartedness!