Ironically, just when I left the job world, along with it came the desire to earn money. Before that I had never really bothered about money (or success). I had always just moved towards whatever was intellectually satisfying. In the process work, education, earning had happened as a by-product.
When I left the job world, I did not know what to do with myself instead. This not-knowing, utter confusion, no clarity, no direction gave me a sense of failure. There was one thing that I was 100% clear about though – that the choice I have made, to leave my job and career as a software developer was not an incorrect one. I knew that this is the only option I had. I knew that continuing in the field any further would cause me serious harm. No, that does not mean that software development is a harmful field. It is a superb fantabulous field. It is exhilarating. Yet, everything inside my being was telling me that this is not what I am essentially meant to do. I am not meant to be here anymore. My time here is up. If I continue any longer, for the sake of practical wisdom – one needs to have some job, some regular stream of income, financial independence… if I force myself to continue due to these reasons, in opposition to my inner being, I knew it will harm me such that I will become a grotesque, disfigured ball (mentally). This I knew in every fiber of my being.
That’s it. That’s all I knew. If not this then what? I had no clue about that.
When I could not contain the utter despair of not knowing what to do with myself, and all the howling raving-mad depression it brought on, I used to unload to my friend. It is obviously not a very pleasant experience for anyone, to be the recipient of such a gift – a woman howling away in despair. In frustration and utter helplessness my friend sometimes said, “You are wasting your life.” This compounded the sense of failure.
My dad never gave me a sense of failure. He knew there is some other way in which I am seeking to express myself. However, time to time he would gently remind me, “50 thousand rupees per month. You should arrange this much for yourself. Then you are free to do whatever you want.” I used to be thankful to my father. Thank God, in the middle of all the cluelessness now I at least know how much I need. One tiny bit of clarity.
It is not that I did not have money in the bank. I did. Yet, I believed it to be extremely parasitic, lethargic, not-very-nice-at-all to not earn my expenses. All that Vani Murarka had earned had been used up. Whatever was left, a good amount to take care of a few years at least, was money that dad had saved for me. Originally for my marriage. Now maybe for some day when I would buy a house, or some such substantial expenditure. That money was not meant to just to “live” on. I sure did not want to simply just exist that way.
Of course I wanted to do something with myself. Something tangible, meaningful, concrete. Just that I used to think that things become tangible, meaningful, concrete if it brings in money. Money makes it official.
So the girl who had never really bothered about success and money before, now having left the conventional career world, wanted to be successful, wanted to make money.
As I kept searching for answers, even as there would be times of joy and happiness, when I would be feeling good about myself, this bunny rabbit would hop along and come and sit and say with blinking eyes, “Ya… but money… “. Money is not a source of security, I have always known this. It is not something that I needed to learn. Even then, this bunny rabbit would come – “Ya… but money…”. On mild, more-or-less-ok days I felt unsuccessful. On days of utter despair, I felt like a complete failure.
Vani Murarka still does not have a regular source of earned income friends. In fact the one source of regular earned income that she had the past few months, Rs. 10 thousand per month from her brother, for helping with his company website, she has let go of even that two days back. Anyway that did not really count for success did it, getting money from your brother? Even then, it did feel good, that earned income after several years of none. I bought clothes with a sense of freedom last Diwali. And it was money for services well rendered. I am glad and satisfied with myself for whatever I did officially in that capacity. I know I made significant positive contribution in the company’s technology trajectory. But now I have freed myself even from that engagement.
Once I figure out what I am meant to do with myself and start doing it and then it brings in money I will be successful. That is what I thought, but it did not happen that way. I already feel successful.
Huh! How come? You can’t do that. That is not as per the rules of the game.
Well, sorry. What to do. It happened. I already am successful. I already feel successful.
That’s all that success is. A feeling.
I feel successful because I feel joy in my being.
I am successful because I washed away resentments and hurt that I had towards family members. Once upon a time I used to feel I do not belong. Now I know I do belong.
I am successful because I now understand my personality better, I have learned how to honor it and I know what I have been cut out to do.
I am successful because I am no longer lonely.
I am successful because I am now living with the one I love – which is what I always wanted.
I am successful not for any of the above reasons really. I am successful because I simply feel successful. The feeling of success is a by-product of joy, a by-product of being free of hassles we carry within. A lot of the things that were sitting heavy in me, preventing the lightness to be experienced, have been removed. Hence, I can now sense the presence of what was already here, what has always been here.
It is possible to feel successful, it is possible to be successful, without money. It is possible not just for me. I am not anyone special. It is possible for each and every one of us.
Image credit: photograph by Mircea Ploscar from Pixabay.com