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09. Pure gratitude
what a self-indulgent lil piece
Do you have some weeks when you just can’t fathom how your life is what it is? And I don’t mean in an existential crisis, ‘wtf am I doing with my life’ kind of way. Do you have moments when you are just so thankful for where you are? Despite the missteps, the bad decisions, the regrets, the fuck ups, do you have days when you feel you were meant to be here?
I don’t know how I got here. Just a week and a half ago, I was lying awake at 1 am thinking where the fuck did I go wrong. Work had been stressful, a daily tug of war, a constant glaring question about whether this was really the best use of my talents. Afternoons spent wondering if I was really a writer when everyone had an opinion about every single word that made their way out of my hands. If this is what I am supposed to do after spending thousands of euros getting a “degree” in copywriting.
Do you have these days when it’s actually not imposter syndrome telling you that you are worthless but it’s, in fact, the very opposite? The days when you know your worth, when you have immense faith in your capabilities but you are painfully aware that not everyone is on the same page as you, not everyone sees you as the force that you see yourself as. And all you want to do is pack a small bag, book a random flight ticket and go to a quiet, mountain cottage.
You would sit by the wide windows of the conservatory of a colonial-era house somewhere in the foothills of the Himalayas, look out at the foggy peaks, a shawl casually wrapped over your shoulders and sip on your freshly brewed coffee with a hint of milk. You would handwrite letters to close friends and acquaintances, full of astute observations on life, death and everything in between. But most importantly, you would write your damn book. Or whatever your equivalent of writing a book is.
But what I am trying to say is that this week I had actually made me feel quite the opposite.
On Tuesday morning, I was sitting on the windowsill of my friend’s house, sipping coffee and talking to her about life in India and in Germany. It’s a recurring point of discussion for us, having come from a similar social background and having had the same level of luxuries and freedoms that living in your own country affords you. These discussions always end in the same way –
We wouldn’t trade the life we have now for any amount of our past privilege.
It has been exactly a year and one month since I started working at my current job. In the two years preceding that, I was a student in Germany. Contrary to what many people in India believe, life as an international student isn’t a two-year-long Europe vacation. I came here with limited money and a solid resolve that I will not ask my family for more money than they have already spent to finance my education. The fact that they had the money to send me here was in itself a huge privilege.
So, I worked part-time while being a full-time student and later, while finishing my mandatory internships. I never indulged in myself and spent only on the bare necessities, a skill I had learnt from my frugal father. I wore the single pair of Puma sneakers I had brought along from India for these two years. When it would rain, cold water would seep in through the fraying toes and I would dream of owning a pair of AF1s one day.
I own three now. I made it.
I don’t make nearly as much money as people in tech or management do. It’s the downside of choosing to work in a job you are passionate about over a job that would make you rich. I could have been an engineer and on off days when I am really sad that I cannot fly to Japan and eat authentic ramen, I wish I had listened to my mum and studied for the engineering entrance exams.
But then, I go out to dinner with my friends and have the best ramen Hamburg has to offer and I am sure that I made it.
During the two years of my studies, my friends were winning industry awards left, right and centre and I, somehow, seemed to never get it right. My classmates graduated with a long list of prizes in their portfolio and I had one (ironically enough, for my portfolio).
But then, when I was on set last week and the protagonist was recording a voiceover that I had written and looked to me for confirmation that they were reading it right, I knew that I made it.
When I can have a quiet Sunday morning, eating avocado toast and iced latte at the kitchen table with my partner without dreading Monday, I know I made it.
When I can walk into a store, buy whatever I want and not panic check my account balance at the cashier’s, I know I made it.
When you text me and tell me that you loved this newsletter, I know that I made it.
Until next time being just so grateful for everything I have,